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Estate of the late John S. Irwin 

From a bust by Chantrey 







<gr&e lltoertf&e press Cambri00c 

Copyright, 1895, 

All rights reserved. 




THIS edition of In Memoriam was planned more than ten 
years ago, and much of the work upon it was done at that 
time. Other duties and engagements have delayed its 
completion until now. 

For the " various readings " I have been largely indebted 
to a copy of the first English edition of the poem given me 
in 1884 by my friend, Dr. F. J. Furnivall, of London, in 
which most of them had been recorded by him. I have 
carefully collated this and all the more recent editions 
accessible to me, and hope that no variation in the texts 
has escaped me. 

My indebtedness to Genung, Gatty, Davidson, and other 
commentators is duly acknowledged in the Notes. To the 
teacher and the critical student these works are indispen- 
CAMBRIDGE, July 15, 1893. 




NOTES !65 

INDEX . . 207 



STRONG Son of God, immortal Love, 

Whom we, that have not seen thy face, 
By faith, and faith alone, embrace, 

Believing where we cannot prove ; 

Thine are these orbs of light and shade; 
Thou madest Life in man and brute j 
Thou madest Death ; and lo, thy foot 

Is on the skull which thou hast made ! 

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust : 

Thou madest man, he knows not why, 
He thinks he was not made to die ; 

And thou hast made him : thou art just. 

Thou seemest human and divine, 

The highest, holiest manhood, thou : 
Our wills are ours, we know not how; 

Our wills are ours, to make them thine. J 

A ^Lv^- 
Our little systems have their day ; * 

They have their day and cease to be^ ~ 
They are but broken lights of thee, % 
And thou, O Lord, art more than they. 


We have but faith : we cannot know ; 

For knowledge is of things we see ; 

And yet we trust it comes from thee, 
A beam in darkness : let it grow. 

Let knowledge grow from more to more, 
But more of reverence in us dwell ; 
That mind and soul, according well, 

May make one music as before, 

But vaster. We are fools and slight ; 
We mock thee when we do not fear : 
But help thy foolish ones to bear ; 

Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light. 

Forgive what seem'd my sin in me, 

What seem'd my worth since I began ; 
For merit lives from man to man, 

And not from man, O Lord, to thee. 

Forgive my grief for one removed, 

Thy creature, whom I found so fair. 
I trust he lives in thee, and there 

I find him worthier to be loved. 

Forgive these wild and wandering cries, 
Confusions of a wasted youth ; 
Forgive them where they fail in truth, 
And in thy wisdom make me wise. 



I held it truth, with him who sings 
To one clear harp in divers tones, 
That men may rise on stepping-stones" 

Of their dead selves to higher things^ 

But who shall so forecast the years 
And find in loss a gain to match ? 
Or reach a hand thro' time to catch 

The far-off interest of tears ? 

Le.Hl.ove clasp Qj;ief lest both be drown 'd. 
Let darkness keep her raven gloss : 
Ah, sweeter to be drunk with loss, 

To dance with Death, to beat the ground, 

Than that the victor Hours should scorn 
The long result of love, and boast, 
' Behold the man that loved and lost, / 

But all he was is overworn. 1 



Old Yew, which graspest at the stones 
' That naihe the underlying dead, 

Thy fibres net the dreamless head, 
Thy roots are wrapt about the bones. 

The seasons bring the flower again, 

And bring the firstling to the flock ; 
And in the dusk of thee the clock 

Beats out the little lives of men. 

O not for thee the glow, the bloom, 
Who changest not in any gale, 
Nor branding summer suns avail 

To touch thy thousand years of gloom ; 

And gazing on thee, sullen tree, 

Sick for thy stubborn hardihood, 
I seem to fail from out my blood 

And grow incorporate into thee. 



O Sorrow, cruel fellowship, 

O priestess in the vaults of Death, 
O sweet and bitter in a breath, 

What whispers from thy lying lip ? 

'The stars,' she whispers, 'blindly run; 

A web is woven across the sky ; 

From out waste places comes a cry, 
And murmurs from the dying sun : 

' And all the phantom, Nature, stands 
With all the music in her tone, 
A hollow echo of my own, 

A hollow form with empty hands.' 

And shall I take a thing so blind, 

Embrace her as my natural good ; 
Or crush her, like a vice of blood, 

Upon the threshold of the mind ? 



To Sleep I give my powers away ; 

My will is bondsman to the dark ; 

I sit within a helmless bark, 
And with my heart I muse and say : 

O heart, how fares it with thee now, 

That thou shouldst fail from thy desire, 
Who scarcely darest to inquire, 

' What is it makes me beat so low ? ' 

Something it is which thou hast lost, 

Some pleasure from thine early years. K 
Break, thou deep vase of chilling tears, \ 

That grief hath shaken into frost ! 1 

Such clouds of nameless trouble cross 
All night below the darken'd eyes ; 
With morning wakes the will, and cries, 

4 Thou shalt not be the fool of loss. 1 



I sometimes hold it half a sin 

To put in words the grief I feel ; 
For words, like Nature, half reveal 

And half conceal the soul within. 

But, for the unquiet heart and brain, 
A use in measured language lies ; 
The sad mechanic exercise, 

Like dull narcotics, numbing pain. 

In words, like weeds, I '11 wrap me o'er, 
Like coarsest clothes against the cold ; 
But that large grief which these enfold 

Is given in outline and no more. 




One writes that ' Other friends remafti,' 
I That ' Loss is common to the race ' 

And common is the commonplace, 
And vacant chaff well meant for grain. 

That loss is common would not make 
My own less bitter, rather more : 
Too common ! Never morning wore 

To evening but some heart did break. 

OJather, wheresoe'er thou be, 

Who pledgest now thy gallant son, 
A shot, ere half thy draught be done, 

Hath still'd the life that beat from thee. 

O mother, praying God will save 

Thy sailor, while thy head is bow'd, 
His heavy-shotted hammock-shroud 

Drops in his vast and wandering grave. 

Ye know no more than I who wrought 
At that last hour to please him well ; 
Who mused on all I had to tell, 

And something written, something thought \ 

Expecting still his advent home ; 
And ever met him on his way 
With wishes, thinking, * here to-day,' 

Or * here to-morrow will he come.' 


O somewhere, meek, unconscious dove, 
That sittest ranging golden hair ; 
And glad to find thyself so fair, 

Poor child, that waitest for thy love ! 

For flow her father's chimney glows 

In expectation of a guest ; 

And thinking ' this will please him best/ 
She takes a riband or a rose ; 

For he* will see them on to-night ; 

And with the thought her color burns ; 

Aud, having left the glass, she turns 
Once more to set a ringlet right ; 

And, even when she turn'd, the curse 
Had fallen, and her future lord 
Was drown'd in passing thro' the ford, 

Or kill'd in falling from his horse. 

O what to her shall be the end ? 

And what to me remains of good ? 

To'her perpetual maidenhood, 
And unto me no second friend. 



)ark house, by which once more I stand 
Here in the long unlovely street, 
Doors, where my heart was used to beat 
So quickly, waiting for a hand, 

A hand that can be claspt no more 
Behold roe, for I cannot sleep, 
And like a guilty thing I creep 

At earliest morning to the door. 

He is not here ; but far away 

The noise of life begins again, 
And ghastly thro' the drizzling rain 

On the bald street breaks the blank day. 



A happy lover who has come 

To look on her that loves him well, 
Who 'lights and rings the gateway bell, 

And learns her gone and far from home, 

He saddens, all the magic light 

Dies off at once from bower and hall, ^ 

And all the place is darK, and all 

The chambers emptied of delight : 

So find I every pleasant spot 

In which we two were wont to meet, 
The field, the chamber, and the street. 

For all is dark where thou art not. 

Yet as that other, wandering there 

In those deserted walks, may find 
A flower beat with rain and wind, 

Which once she foster'd up with care ; 

So seems it in my deep regret, 

my forsaken heart, with thee 
And this poor flower of poesy 

Which, little cared for, fades not yet. 

But since it pleased a vanish'd eye, 

1 go to plant it on his tomb, 
That if it can it there may bloom, 

Or, dying, there at least may die. 



Fair ship, that from the Italian shore 
Sailest the placid ocean-plains 
With my lost Arthur's loved remains, 

Spread thy full wings, and waft him o'er. 

So draw him home to those that mourn 
In vain ; a favorable speed 
Ruffle thy mirror'd mast, and lead 

Thro' prosperous floods his holy urn. 

All night no ruder air perplex 

Thy sliding keel, till Phosphor, bright 
As our pure love, thro' early light 

Shall glimmer on the dewy decks. 

Sphere all your lights around, above ; 

Sleep, gentle heavens, before the prow ; 

Sleep, gentle winds, as he sleeps now, 
My friend, the brother of my love ; 

My Arthur, whom I shall not see 

Till all my widow'd race be run ; 
Dear as the mother to the son, 

More tfiarTmy brothers are to me. 



I hear the noise about thy keel ; 

I hear the bell struck in the night : 
I see the cabin- window bright ; 

I see the sailor at the wheel. 

Thou bring'st the sailor to his wife, 

And travell'd men from foreign lands ; 
And letters unto trembling hands ; 

And, thy dark freight, a vanish'd life. 

So bring him : we have idle dreams : 
This look of quiet flatters thus 
Our home-bred fancies : O to us, 

The fools of habit, sweeter seems 

To rest beneath the clover sod, 

That takes the sunshine and the rains, 
Or where the kneeling hamlet drains 

The chalice of the grapes of Godt 

Than if with thee the roaring wells 

Should gulf him fathom-deep in brine, 
And hands so often claspt in mine 

Should toss with tangle and with shells. 


Calm is the morn without a sound, 
Calm as to suit a calmer grief, 
And only thro' the Jadedjeaf^ 

The chestnut pattering to the ground ; 

Calm and deep peace on this high wold, 

And on these dews that drench the furze, 
And all the silvery gossamers 

That twinkle into green and gold ; 

Calm and still light on yon great plain 

That sweeps with all its autumn bowers, 
And crowded farms and lessening towers, 

To mingle with the bounding main ; 

Calm and deep peace in this wide air, 
These leaves that redden to the fall ; 
And in my heart, if calm at all, 

If any calm, a calm despair : 

Calm on the seas, and silver sleep, 

And waves that sway themselves in rest, 
And dead calm in that noble breast 

Which heaves but with the heaving deep. 



Lo, as a dove when up she springs 

To bear thro' heaven a tale of woe, 
Some dolorous message knit below 

The wild pulsation of her wings, 

Like her I go ; I cannot stay ; 

I leave this mortal ark behind, 

A weight of nerves without a mind, 

And leave the cliffs, and haste away 

O'er ocean-mirrors rounded large, 

And reach the glow of southern skies. 
And see the sails at distance rise, 

And linger weeping on the marge, 

And saying, ' Comes he thus, my friend ? 
(Js this the end of all my care ? *) 

And circle moaning in the air, 
'/Is this the end ? j Is this the end ? ' 

And forward dart again, and play 
About the prow, and back return 
To where the body sits, and learn 

That I have been an hour away. 



Tears of the widower, when he sees 
A late-lost form that sleep reveals, 
And moves his doubtful arms, and feels 

Her place is empty, fall like these ; . 

Which weep a loss for ever new, 

A void where heart on heart reposed ; 

And, where warm hands have prest and closed, 

Silence, till I be silent too ; 

Which weep the comrade of my choice, 

An awful thought, a life removed, 

The human-hearted man^ I loved, 
A spirit, not a breathing voice. 

Come, Time, and teach me, many years, 

I do not suffer in a dream ; 

For now so strange do these things seem, 
Mine eyes have leisure for their tears, 

My fancies time to rise on wing, 

And glance about the approaching sails, 
As tho' they brought but merchants' bales, 

And not the burthen that they bring. 



If one should bring me this report, 

That thou hadst touch'd the land to-day, 
And I went down unto the quay, 

And found thee lying in the port ; 

And standing, muffled round with woe, 
Should see thy passengers in rank 
Come stepping lightly down the plank, 

And beckoning unto those they know ; 

And if along with these should come 
The man I held as rm^^ivine, 
Should strike a sudden hand in mine, 

And ask a thousand things of home ; 

And I should tell him all my pain, 

And how my life had droop'd of late, 
And he should sorrow o'er my state 

And marvel what possess'd my brain ; 

And I perceived no touch of change, 
No hint of death in all his frame, 
But found him all in all the same, 

I should not feel it to be strange. 


Tonight the winds begin to rise 

And roar from yonder dropping day: 
The last red leaf is whirl'd away, 

The rooks are blown about the skies ; 

The forest crack'd, the waters curl'd, 
The cattle huddled on the lea ; 
And wildly dash'd on tower and tree 

The sunbeam strikes along the world : 

And but for fancies, which aver 

That all thy motions gently pass 
Athwart a plane of molten glass, 

I scarce could brook the strain and stir 

That makes the barren branches loud 
And but for fear it is not so, 
The wild unrest that lives in woe 

Would dote and pore on yonder cloud 

That rises upward always higher, 

And onward drags a laboring breast, 
And topples round the dreary west, 

A looming bastion fringed with fire. 



What words are these have fallen from me ? 

Can calm despair and wild unrest 

Be tenants of a single breast, 
Or Sorrow such a changeling be ? 

Or doth she only seem to take 

The touch of change in calm or storm, 
But knows no more of transient form 

In her deep self than some dead lake 

That holds the shadow of a lark 

Hung in the shadow of a heaven ? 
Or has the shock, so harshly given, 

Confused me like the unhappy bark 

That strikes by night a craggy shelf, 
And staggers blindly ere she sink ? 
And stunn'd me from my power to think 

And all my knowledge of myself ; 

And made me that delirious man 
Whose fancy fuses old and new, 
And flashes into false and true, 

And mingles all without a plan ? 



Thou comest, much wept for ; such a breeze 
Compell'd thy canvas, and my prayer 
Was as the whisper of an air 

To breathe thee over lonely seas. 

For I in spirit saw thee move 

Thro' circles of the bounding sky, 
Week after week : the days go by : 

Come quick, thou bringest all I love. 

Henceforth, wherever thou mayst roam, 
My blessing, like a line of light, 
Is on the waters day and night, 

And like a beacon guards thee home. 

So may whatever tempest mars 

Mid-ocean spare thee, sacred bark, 
And balmy drops in summer dark 

Slide from the bosom of the stars, 

So kind an office hath been done, 

Such precious relics brought by thee, 
The dust of him I shall not see 

Till all my widow'd race be run. 


XVIII. i/ 

T is well \ 't is something ; we may stand 
Where he in English earth is laid, 
And from his ashes may be made 

The violet of his native land. 

'T is little but it looks in truth 

As if the quiet bones were blest, 
Among familiar names to rest 

And in the places of his youth. 

Come then, pure hands, and bear the head 
That sleeps or wear's the mask of sleep, 
And come, whatever loves to weep, 

And hear the .ritual of the dead. 

Ah yet, even yet, if this might be, 
I, falling on his faithful heart, 
Would breathing thro' his lips impart 

The life that almost dies in me ; 

That dies not, but endures with pain, 
And slowly forms the firmer mind, 
Treasuring the look it cannot find, 

The words that are not heard again. 



The Danube to the Severn gave 

The darken 'd heart that beat no more; 

They laid him by the pleasant shore, 
And in the hearing of the wave. 

There twice a day the Severn fills ; 
The salt sea-water passes by, 
And hushes half the babbling Wye, 

And makes a silence in the hills. 

The Wye is hush'd nor moved along, 
And hush'd my deepest grief of all, 
When, fill'd with tears that cannot falljy 

I brim with sorrow drowning song. 

The tide flows down, the wave again 
Is vocal in its wooded walls ; 
My deeper anguish also falls, 

And I can speak a little then. 



The lesser griefs that may be said, 

That breathe a thousand tender vows, 
Are but as servants in a house 

Where lies the master newly dead ; 

Who speak their feeling as it is, 

And weep the fulness from the mind : 
1 It will be hard,' they say, ' to find 

Another service such as this.' 

My lighter moods are like to these, 
That out of words a comfort win ; 
But there are other griefs within, 

Arid tears that at their fountainjreeze ; 

For by the hearth the children sit 

Cold in that atmosphere of death, 
And scarce endure to draw the breath, 

Or like to noiseless phantoms flit : 

But open converse is there none, 
So much the vital spirits sink 
To see the vacant chair, and think, 

* How good ! how kind ! and he is gone/ 


I sing to him that rests below, 

And, since the grasses round me wave, 
I take the grasses of the grave, 

And make them pipes whereon to blow. 

The traveller hears me now and then, 

And sometimes harshly will he speak : 
' This fellow would make weakness weak, 

And melt the waxen hearts of men.' 

Another answers, ' Let him be, 

He loves to make parade of pain, 
That with his piping he may gain 

The praise that comes to constancy.' 

A third is wroth : * Is this an hour 
For private sorrow's barren song, 
When more and more the people throng 

The chairs and thrones of civil power ? 

' A time to sicken and to swoon, 

When Science reaches forth her arms 
To feel from world to world, and charms 

Her secret from the latest moon ? ' 

Behold, ye speak an idle thing ; 

Ye never knew the sacred dust : 

I do but sing because I must, 
And pipe but as the linnets sing : 


And one is glad ; her note is gay, 

For now her little ones have ranged ; 
And one is sad ; her note is changed, 

Because her brood is stolen away. 



The path by which we twain did go, 

% Which led by tracts that pleased us well, 
\Thro' four sweet years arose and fell, \ 

From flower to flower, from snow to snow ; 

And we with singing cheer'd the way, 

And, crown'd with all the season lent, 
From April on to April went, 

And glad at heart from May to May : 

But where the path we walk'd began 
To slant the fifth autumnal slope, 
As we descended (following Hopq, 

There sat the Shadow fear'd of man j 

Who broke our fair companionship, 

And spread his mantle dark and cold, 
And wrapt thee formless in the fold, 

And dull'd the murmur on thy lip, 

And bore thee where I could not see 
Nor follow, tho' I walk in haste, 
And think that somewhere in the waste 

The Shadow sits and waits for me. 



Now, sometimes in my sorrow shut, 

O^Jai^akingjnto song by fits, 

Aldne, alone, to where he sits, 
The Shadow cloak'd from head to foot, 

Who keepsjthejceys of all the creeds, 
Twander, often falling lame^ 
And looking back to whence I came 

Or on to where the pathway leads ; 

And crying, How changed from where it ran 
Thro' lands where not a leaf was dumb, 
But all the lavish hills would hum 

The murmur of a happy Pan : 

When each by turns was guide to each, 
And Fancy light from Fancy caught, 
And Thought leapt out to wed with Thought 

Ere Thought could wed itself with Speech ; 

And all we met was fair and good, 

And all was good that Time could bring, 

And all the secret of the Spring^ 
Moved in the chambers of the blood ; 

And many an old philosophy 

On Argive heights divinely sang, 
And round us all the thicket rang 

To many a flute of Arcady_, 



And was the day of my delight 
As pure and perfect as I say ? 
The very source and fount of day 

Is dash'd with wandering isles of night. 

If all was good and fair we met, 

This earth had been the Paradise 
It never look'd to human eyes 

Since our first sun arose and set. 

And is it that the haze of grief 

Makes former gladness loom so great P 
The lowness of the present state, 

That sets the past in this relief ? 

Or that the past will always win 
A glory from its being far, 
And orb into the perfect star 

We saw not when we moved therein? 


xxv e 

I know that this was Life, the track 
Whereon with equal feet we fared ; 
And then, as now, the day prepared 

The daily burden for the back. 

But this it was that made me move 
As light as carrier-birds in air ; 
I loved the weight I had to bear, 

Because it needed help of Love : 

Nor could I weary, heart or limb, 

When mighty Love would cleave in twain 

The lading of a single pain, 
And part it, giving half to him. 



Still onward winds the dreary way ; 
I with it ; for I long to prove 
No lapse of moons can canker Love, 

Whatever fickle tongues may say. 

And if that eye which watches guilt 

And goodness, and hath power to see 
Within the green the moulder'd tree, 

And towers fallen as soon as built 

O, if indeed that eye foresee 

Or see (in Him is no before) 
In more of life true life no more 

And Love the indifference to be, 

Then might I find, ere yet the morn 
Breaks hither over Indian seas, 
That Shadow waiting with the keys, 

To shroud me from my proper scorn. 



I envy not in any moods 

The captive void of noble rage, 
The linnet born within the cage, 

That never knew the summer woods : 

I envy not the beast that takes 

His license in the field of time, 
Unfetter'd by the sense of crime, 

To wHom a conscience never wakes ; 

Nor, what may count itself as blest, 
The heart that never plighted troth 
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth ; 

Nor any want-begotten rest. 

. / 

I hold it true, whate'er 'befall ; 

I feel it, when I sorrow most : 
'T is better to have loved and lost 
Than never to have loved at all. 



The time draws near the birth of Christ : 
The moon is hid ; the night is still ; 
The Christmas bells from hill to hill 

Answer each other in the mist. 

Four voices of four hamlets round, 

From far and near, on mead and moor, 
Swell out and fail, as if a door 

Were shut between me and the sound : 

Each voice four changes on the wind, 
That now dilate, and now decrease, 
Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace, 

Peace and goodwill, to all mankind. 

This year I slept and woke with pain, 

I almost wish'd no more to wake, 
And that my hold on life would break 
Before I heard those bells again : 

But they my troubled spirit rule, 

For they controll'd me when a boy ; 
They bring me sorrow touch'd with joy, 

The merry, merry bells of Yule. 



With such compelling cause to grieve 
As daily vexes household peace, 
And chains regret to his decease, 

How dare we keep our Christmas-eve ; 

Which brings no more a welcome guest 
To enrich the threshold of the night 
With shower'd largess of delight 

In dance and song and game and jest ? 

Yet go, and while the holly boughs 
Entwine the cold baptismal font, 
Make one wreath more for Use and Wont, 

That guard the portals of the house ; 

Old sisters of a day gone by, 

Gray nurses, loving nothing new ; 
Why should they miss their yearly due 

Before their time ? They too will die. 



With trembling fingers did we weave 

The holly round the Christmas hearth ; 
A rainy cloud possess'd the earth, 

And adly_fell our Christmas-eve. 

At our old pastimes in the hall 

We gamboll'd, making vain pretence 
Of gladness, with an awful sense 

Of one mute Shadow watching all. 

We paused : the winds were in the beech : 
We heard them sweep the winter land ', 
And in a circle hand-in-hand 

Sat silent, looking each at each. 

Then echo-like our voices rang ; 

* We sung, tho' every eye was dim, 
I A merry_song we sang jvith him 
(j-jast year : impetuously we 'sang. 

We ceased : a gentler feeling crept 

Upon us : surely rest is meet : 

* They rest,' we said, * their sleep is sweet,' 
And silence follow'd, and we wept. 

Our voices took a higher range ; 

Once more we sang : * They do not die 
Nor lose their mortal sympathy, 

Nor change to us, although they change ; 


1 Rapt from the fickle and the frail 

With gather'd power, yet the same, 
Pierces the keen seraphic flame 

From orb to orb, from veil to veil.' 

Rise, happy morn, rise, holy morn, 

Draw forth the cheerful day from night ; 
O Father, touch the east, and light 

The light that shone when Hope was born. 



When Lazarus left his charnel-cave, 

And home to Mary's house return'd, 
Was this demanded if he yearn 'd 

To hear her weeping by his grave ? 

' Where wert thou, brother, those four days ? 
There lives no record of reply, 
Which telling what it is to die 

Had surely added praise to praise. 

From every house the neighbors met, 

The streets were fill'd with joyful sound, 
A solemn gladness even crown'd 

The purple brows of Olivet. 

Behold a man raised up by Christ ! 

The rest remaineth unreveaFd ; 

He told it not, or something seal'd 
The lips of that Evangelist. 



Her eyes are homes of silent prayer, 
Nor other thought her mind admits 
But, he was dead, and there he sits, 

And he that brought him back is there. 

Then one deep love doth supersede 
All other, when her ardent gaze 
Roves from the living brother's face, 

And rests upon the Life indeed. 

Ail subtle thought, all curious fears, 

Borne down by gladness so complete, 
She bows, she bathes the Saviour's feet 

With costly spikenard and with tears. 

Thrice blest whose lives are faithful prayers, 
Whose loves in higher love endure ; 
What souls possess themselves so pure, 

Or is there blessedness like theirs ? 



O thou that after toil and storm 

Mayst seem to have reach'd a purer air, 
Whose faith has centre everywhere, 

Nor cares to fix itself to form, 

Leave thbu thy sister when she prays, 
Her early Heaven, her happy views ; 
Nor thou with shadow'd hint confuse 

A life that leads melodious days. 

Her faith thro' form is pure as thine, 
Her hands are quicker unto good : 
O, sacred be the flesh and blood 

To which she links a truth divine ! 

See thou, that countest reason ripe 
In holding by the law within, 
Thou fail not in a world of sin, 

And even for want of such a type. 



My own dim life should teach me this, ,- 
That life shall live for evermore, 
Else earth is darkness at the core, 

And dust and ashes all that is ; 

This round of green, this orb of flame, 
Fantastic beauty ; such as lurks 
In some wild poet, when he works 

Without a conscience or an aim. 

What then were God to such as I ? 

'T were hardly worth my while to choose 
Of things all mortal, or to use 

A. little patience ere I die ; 

'T were best at once to sink to peace, 

Like birds the charming serpent draws, 
To drop head-foremost in the jaws 

Of vacant darkness and to cease. 



Yet if some voice that man could trust 

Should murmur from the narrow house, 
* The cheeks drop in, the body bows ; 

Man dies : nor is there hope in dust : ' 

Might I not say, ' Yet even here, 

But for one hour, O Love, I strive 
To keep so sweet a thing alive ' ? 

But I should turn mine ears and hear 

The moanings of the homeless sea, 

The sound of streams that swift or slow 
Draw down Ionian hills, and sow 

The dust of continents to be ; 

And Love would answer with a sigh, 
r p*e'sound of that forgetful shore 
111 change my sweetness more and more, 

Half-dead to know that I shall die.' 

O me, what profits it to put 

An idle case ? If Death were seen 
At first as Death, Love had not been, 

Or been in narrowest working shut, 

Mere fellowship of sluggish moods, 

Or in his coarsest Satyr-shape 

Had bruised the herb and crush'd the grape, 
And bask'd and batten'd in the woods. 



Tho' truths in manhood darkly join, 

Deep-seated in our mystic frame,. \ 
We yield all blessing to the name 

Of Him that made them current coin ; 

For Wisdom dealt with mortal powers, 

Where truth in closest words shall fail. 
When truth embodied in a tale 

Shall enter in at lowly doors. 

And so the Word had breath, and wrought 
With human hands the creed of creeds 
In loveliness of perfect deeds, 

More strong than all poetic thought ; 

Which he may reao! that binds the sheaf, 
Or builds the house, or digs the grave, 
And those wild eyes that 'watch the wave 

In roarings round the coral reef. 




j IJraniaj speaks with darken'd brow : 

' Thou pratest here where thou art least ; 
This faith has many a purer priest, 

And many an abler voice than thou. 

* Go down beside thy native rill, 

On thy Parnassus set thy feet, 
And hear thy laurel whisper sweet 
About the ledges of the hill.' 

And my Melpomene replies, 

A touch of shame upon her cheek : 
' I am not worthy even to speak 

Of thy prevailing mysteries ; 

4 For I am but an earthly Muse, 
And owning but a little art 
To lull witR song an aching heart, 

And render human love his dues ; 

* But brooding on the dear one dead, 

And all he said of things divine 
(And dear to me as sacred wine 
To dying lips is all he said), 

' I murmur'd, as I came along, 

Of comfort claspt in truth reveal'd ; 
And loiter'd in the master's field, 

And darken'd sanctities with song.' 



With weary steps I loiter on, 

Tho' always under alter'd skies 
The purple from the distance dies, 

My prospect and horizon gone. 

No joy the blowing season gives, 
The herald melodies of spring, 
But in the songs I love to sing 

A doubtful gleam of solace lives. 

If any care for what is here 

Survive in spirits render'd free, 
Then are these songs I sing of thee 

Not all ungrateful to thine ear. 


Old warder of these buried bones, 

And answering now my random stroke 
With fruitful cloud and living smoke, 

Dark yew, that graspest at the stones 

And dippest toward the dreamless head, 
To thee too comes the golden hour 
When flower is feeling after flower ; 

But Sorrow fixt upon the dead, 

And darkening the dark graves of men, 
What whisper'd from her lying lips ? 
Thy gloom is kindled at the tips, 

And passes into gloom again. 



Could we forget the wido^d hour 

And look on spirits breathed away, 
As on a maiden in the day 

When first she wears her orange-flower ! 

When crown'd with blessing she doth rise 
To take her latest leave of home, 
And hopes and light regrets that come 

Make April of her tender eyes ; 

And doubtful joys the father move, 

And tears are on the mother's face, 
As parting with a long embrace 

She enters other realms of love j 

Her office there to rear, to teach, 
Becoming as is meet and fit 
A link among the days, to knit s 

The generations each with each : 

And, doubtless, unto thee is given 
A life that bears immortal- fruit 
In those great offices that suit 

The full-grown energies of heaven. 

Ay me, the difference I discern ! 
How often shall her old fireside 
Be cheer'd with tidings of the bride, 

How often she herself return, 


And tell them all they would have told, 

And bring her babe, and make her boast, 
Till even those that miss'd her most 

Shall count new things as dear as old : 

But thou and I have shaken hands, 
Till growing winters lay melow ; 
My paths are in the fields I know, 

And thine in undiscover'd lands. 



Thy spirit ere our fatal loss 

Did ever rise from high to higher ; 

As mounts the heavenward altar-fire, 
As flies the lighter thro' the gross. 

But thou art turn'd to something strange, 
And I have lost the links that bound 
Thy changes ; here upon the ground, 

No more partaker of thy change. 

Deep folly ! yet that this could be 

That I could wing my will with might 
To leap the grades of life and light, 

And flash at once, my friend, to thee. 

For tho' my nature rarely yields 

To that vague fear implied in death, 
Nor shudders at the gulfs beneath, 

The howlings from forgotten fields ; 

Yet oft when sundown skirts the moor 

An inner trouble I behold, 

A spectral doubt which makes me cold, 
That I shall be thy mate no more, 

Tho' following with an upward mind 

The wonders that have come to thee, 
Thro' all the secular to-be, 

But evermore a life behind. 



I vex my heart with fancies dim : 

He still outstript me in the race ; 
It was but^unity of place 

That made me dream I rank'd with him. 

And so may place retain us still, 

And he the much-beloved again, 
A lord of large experience, train 

To riper growth the mind and will : 

And what delights can equal those 
That stir the spirit's inner deeps, 
When one that loves, but knows not, reaps 

A. truth from one that loves and knows ? 



Ifjleep and D/'he truly one. 
And every spirit's folded bloom 
Thro' all its intervital gloom 

In some long trance should slumber on ; 

Unconscious of the sliding hour, 
Bare of the body, might it last, 
And silent traces of the past 

Be all the color of the flower : 

So then were nothing lost to man ; 
So that still garden of the souls 
In many a figured leaf enrolls 

The total world since life began ; 

And love will last as pure and whole 
As when he loved me here in Time, 
And at the spiritual prime 

Rewaken with the dawning soul. 



How fares it with the happy dead ? 

For here the man is more and more ; 

But he forgets the days before 
God shut the doorways of his head. 

The days have vanish'd, tone and tint, 
And yet perhaps the hoarding sense 
Gives out at times (he knows not whence) 

A little flash, a mystic hint ; 

And in the long harmonious years 

(If Death so taste Lethean springs) 
May some dim touch of earthly things 

Surprise thee ranging with thy peers. 

If such a dreamy touch should fall, 

O turn thee round, resolve the doubt ; 
My guardian angel will speak out 

In that high place, and tell thee all. 



The baby new to earth* and sky, 

What time his tender palm is prest 
Against the circle of the breast, 

Has never thought that * this is I : ' 

But as he grows he gathers much, 

And learns the use of * I,' and ' me/ 
And finds ' I am not what I see, 

And other than the things I touch.' 

So rounds he to a separate mind 

From whence clear memory may begin, 
As thro' the frame that binds him in 

His isolation grows defined. 

This use may lie in blood and breath, 

Which else were fruitless of their due, 
Had man to learn himself anew 

Beyond the second birth of death. 



We ranging down this lower track, 

The path we came by, thorn and flower, 
Is shadow'd by the growing hour, 

Lest life should fail in looking back. 

So be it : there no shade can last 

In that deep dawn behind the tomb, 

But clear from marge to marge shall bloom 

The eternal landscape of the past ; 

A lifelong tract of time reveal'd ; 

The fruitful hours of still increase ; 

Days order'd in a wealthy peace, 
And those five years its richest field. 

O Love, thy province were not large, 
A bounded field, nor stretching far ; 
Look also, Love, a brooding star, 

A rosy warmth from marge to marge I 



That each, who seems a separate whole, 
Should move his rounds and, fusing all 
The skirts of self again, should fall 

Remerging in the general Soul, 

Is faith as vague as all unsweet : 
Eternal form shall still divide 
The eternal soul from all beside, 

And I shall know him when we meet ; 

And we shall sit at endless feast, 

Enjoying each the other's good : 
What vaster dream can hit the mood 

Of Love on earth ? He seeks at least 

Upon the last and sharpest height, 
Before the spirits fade away, 
Some landing-place, to clasp and say, 
Farewell ! We lose ourselves in light.' 



If these brief lays, of Sorrow born, 
Were taken to be such as closed 
Grave doubts and answers here proposed, 

Then these were such as men might scorn. 

Her care is not to part and prove : 

She takes, when harsher moods remit, 
What slender shade of doubt may flit, 

And makes it vassal unto love ; 

And hence, indeed, she sports with words, 
But better serves a wholesome law, 
And holds it sin and shame to draw 

The deepest measure from the chords ; 

Nor dare she trust a larger lay, 

But rather loosens from the lip 
Short swallow-flights of song, that dip 

Their wings in tears and skim away. 



From art, from nature, from the schools, 
Let random influences glance, 
Like light in many a shiver'd lance 

That breaks about the dappled pools. 

The lightest wave of thought shall lisp, 
The fancy's tenderest eddy wreathe, 
The slightest air of song shall breathe 

To make the sullen surface crisp. 

And look thy look, and go thy way, 

But blame not thou the winds that make 
The seeming-wanton ripple break, 

The tender-pencill'd shadow play. 

Beneath all fancied hopes and fears 
Ay me, the sorrow deepens down, 
Whose muffled motions blindly drown 

The bases of my life in tears. 


Be near me when my light is low, 

When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick 
And tingle ; and the heart is sick, 

And all the wheels of being slow. 

Be near me when the sensuous frame 

Is rack'd with pangs that conquer trust ; 
And Time a maniac scattering dust, 

And Life a Fury slinging flame. 

Be near me when my faith is dry, 

And men the flies of latter spring, 
That lay their eggs, and sting and sing 

And weave their petty cells and die. 

Be near me when I fade away, 

To point the term of human strife, 
And on the low dark verge of life 

The twilight of eternal day. 



Do we indeed desire the dead 

Should still be near us at our side ? 
Is there no baseness we would hide ? 

No inner vileness that we dread ? 

Shall he for whose applause I strove, 
I had such reverence for his blame, 
See with clear eye some hidden shame 

And I be lessen'd in his love ? 

I wrong the grave with fears untrue : 

Shall love be blamed for want of faith ? 
There must be wisdom with great Death 

The dead shall look me thro' and thro'. 

Be near us when we climb or fall : 

Ye watch, like God, the rolling hours 
With larger other eyes than ours, 

To make allowance for us all. 



I cannot love thee as I ought, 

For love reflects the thing beloved ; 
My words are only words, and moved 

Upon the topmost froth of thought. 

' Yet blame not thou thy plaintive song,' 
The Spirit of true love replied ; 
* Thou canst not move me from thy side, 

Nor human frailty do me wrong. 

* What keeps a spirit wholly true 
To that ideal which he bears ? 
What record ? not the sinless years 

That breathed beneath the Syrian blue : 

' So fret not, like an idle girl, 

That life is dash'd with flecks of sin. 

Abide : thy wealth is gather 'd in, 
When Time hath sunder'd shell from pearl/ 



How many a father have I seen, 
A sober man, among his boys, 
Whose youth was full of foolish noise, 

Who wears his manhood hale and green ; 
<T* ff f' 


And dare we to this fancy give, 

That had the wild oat not been sown, 
The soil, left barren, scarce had grown 

The grain by which a man may live ? 

Or, if we held the doctrine sound 
For life outliving heats of youth, 
Yet who would preach it as a truth 

To those that eddy round and round ? 

Hold thou the good ; define it well : 

For fear divine Philosophy 

Should push beyond her mark, and be 
^Procuress to the Lords of Hell. 


O, yet we trust that somehow ood 

Will be the final goal of illT" 
To pangs of nature, sins of will, 
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood ; 

That nothing walks with aimless feet ; 
That not one life shall be destroy'd, 
Or cast as rubbish to the void, 

When God hath made the pile complete; 

That not a worm is cloven in vain ; 
*^ That not a moth with vain desire 

Is shrivelPd in a fruitless fire, 
, Or but subserves another's gain. 

Behold, we know not anything ; 

I can but trust that good shall fall 
At last far off at last, to all, 

And every winter change to spring. 

So runs m^ dream : but what am I ? 
""* An inrant crying in the night ; 
An infant crying for the light ; 
And with no language but a cry. 



The wish, that of the living whole 

No life may fail beyond the grave, 
Derives it not from what we have 

The likest God within the soul ? 

Are God and Nature then at strife, 

That Nature lends such evil dreams ? 
So careful of the type she seems, 

So careless of the single life, 

That I, considering everywhere 

Her secret meaning in her deeds, 
And finding that of fifty seeds 

She often brings but one to bear, 

falter where J firmly trod) 

And falling with my weight of cares r 

Upon the great world's altar-stairs - 
That slope thro' darkness up to God, 

I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope, 
And gather dust and chaff, and call 
To what I feel is Lord of all, 

And faintly trust the larger hope. 



* So careful of the type ? ' but no. 

From scarped cliff and quarried stone 
She cries, l A thousand types are gone : 
I care for nothing, all shall go. 

* Thou makest thine appeal to me : 

I bring to life, I bring to death ; 
The spirit does but mean the breath : 
I know no more.' And he, shall he, 

Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair, 
r Such splendid purpose in his eyes, 

Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies, 
AJ^ Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer, 

Who trusted God was love indeed 
And love Creation's final law 
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw 

With ravin, shriek'd against his creed 

Who loved, who suffer'd countless ills, 
Who battled for the True, the Just, 
Be blown about the desert dust, 

Or seal'd within the iron hills ? 

No more ? A monster then, a dream, 
o A discord. Dragons of the prime, 
That tare each other in their slime, 
Were mellow music match'd with him. v 


^ ^&,c^-* 

O life as futile, then, as frail ! J 

O for thy voice to soothe and bless ! 
What hope of answer, or redress? 
Behind the veil, behind the veil. 



Peace ; come away : the song of woe 

Is after all an earthly song : 

Peace ; come away : we do him wrong 
To sing so wildly : let us go. 

Come, let us go : your cheeks are pale ; 
But half my life I leave behind : 
Methinks my friend is richly shrined ; 

But I shall pass ; my work will fail. 

Yet in these ears, till hearing dies, 

One set slow bell will seem to toll 
The passing of the sweetest soul 

That ever look'd with human eyes. 

I hear it now, and o'er and o'er, 
Eternal greetings to the dead ; 
And ' Ave, Ave, Ave,' said, 

* Adieu, adieu,' for evermore. 



In those sad words I took farewell : 
Like echoes in sepulchral halls, 
As drop by drop the water falls 

In vaults and catacombs, they fell ; 

And, falling, idly broke the peace 

Of hearts that beat from day to day, 
Half-conscious of their dying clay, 

And those cold crypts where they shall cease. 

The high Muse answer'd : ' Wherefore grieve 
Thy brethren with a fruitless tear? 
Abide a little longer here, 

And thou shalt take a nobler leave.* 



O Sorrow, wilt thou live with me 
No casual mistress, but a wife, 
My bosom-friend and half of life ; 

As I confess it needs must be ? 

O Sorrow, wilt thou rule my blood, 
Be sometimes lovely like a bride, 
And put thy harsher moods aside, 

If thou wilt have me wise and good ? 

My centred passion cannot move, 
Nor will it lessen from to-day ; 
But I '11 have leave at times to play 

As with the creature of my love ; 

And set thee forth, for thou art mine, 

With so much hope for years to come, 
That, howsoe'er I know thee, some 

Could hardly tell what name were thine. 



He past j a soul of noblerjone : 

My spirit loved and loves him yet, 
Like some poor girl whose heart is set 

On one whose rank exceeds her own. 

He mixing with his proper sphere, 
She finds the baseness of her lot, 
Half jealous of she knows not what, 

And envying all that meet him there. 

The little village looks forlorn ; 

She sighs amid her narrow days, 
Moving about the household ways, 

In that dark house where she was born. 

The foolish neighbors come and go, 

And tease her till the day draws by : 
At night she weeps, * How vain am I ! \ 
(^How should he love a thing so low ? ' 



If, in thy second state sublime, 

Thy ransom'd reason change replies 
With all the circle of the wise, 

The perfect flower of human time ; 

And it thou cast thine eyes below, 

How dimly character'd and slight, \ 

How dwarf'd a growth of cold and night, \ 

How blanch'd with darkness must I grow 1 

Yet turn thee to the doubtful shore, 

Where thy first form was made a man} 
I loved thee, Spirit, and love, nor can / 

The soul of Shakspeare love thee more. 



Tho' if* an eye that 's downward cast 

Could make thee somewhat blench or fail, 
Then be my love an idle tale, 

And fading legend of the past ; 

And thou, as one that once declined, 

When he was little more than boy, 
(. On some unworthy heart with joy,J) 
But lives to wed an equal mind ; 

And breathes a novel world, the while 

His other passion wholly dies, 

Or in the light of deeper eyes 
Is matter for a flying smile. 



Yet pity for a horse o'er-driven, 

And love in which my hound has part, 
Can hang no weight upon my heart 

In its assumptions up to heaven ; 

And I am so much more than these 

As thou, perchance, art more than I, 
And yet I spare them sympathy, 

And I would set their pains at ease. 

So mayst thou watch me where I weep, 
As, unto vaster motions bound, 
The circuits of \thine orbit round 

A higher height, a deeper deep. 



Dost thou look back on what hath been, 
As some divinely gifted man, 
Whose life in low estate began 

And on a simple village green ; 

Who breaks his birth's invidious bar, 

And grasps the skirts of happy chance, 
And breasts the blows of circumstance, 

And grapples with his evil star ; 

Who makes by force his merit known 
And lives to clutch the golden keys, 
To mould a mighty state's decrees, 

And shape the whisper of the throne ; 

And, moving up from high to higher, 

Becomes on Fortune's crowning slope 
The pillar of a people's hope, 

The centre of a world's desire ; 

Yet feels, as in a pensive dream, 

When all his active powers are still, 
A distant dearness in the hill, 

A secret sweetness in the stream, 

The limit of his narrower fate, 

While yet beside its vocal springs 
He play'd at counsellors and kings, 

With one that was his earliest mate ; 


Who ploughs with pain his native lea 
And reaps the labor of his hands, 
Or in the furrow musing stands : 

' Does my old friend remember ie ? ' 



Sweet soul, do with me as thou wilt j 

I lull a fancy trouble-tost 

With ' Love's too precious to be lost, 
A little grain shall not be spilt.' 

And in that solace can I sing, 

Till out of painful phases wrought 
There flutters up a happy thought, 

Self-balanced on a lightsome wing : 

Since we deserved the name of friends, 
And thine effect so lives in me, 
A part of mine may live in thee 

And move thee on to noble ends. 



You thought my heart too far diseased ; 
You wonder when my fancies play 
To find me gay among the gay, 

Like one with any trifle pleased. I 

The shade by which my life was crost, 
Which makes a desert in the mind, 
Has made me kindly with my kind, 

And like to him whose sight is lost ; 

Whose feet are guided thro' the land, 

Whose jest among his friends is free, 
Who takes the children on. his knee, 

And winds their curls about his hand : 

He plays with threads, he beats his chair 
For pastime, dreaming of the sky ; 
His inner day can never die, 

His night of loss is always there. 



When on my bed the moonlight falls, 
I know that in thy place of rest 
By that broad water of the west, 

There comes a glory on the walls : 

Thy marble bright in dark appears, 
As slowly steals a silver flame 
Along the letters of thy name, 

And o'er the number of thy years. 

The mystic glory swims away ; 

From off my bed the moonlight dies ; 

And closing eaves of wearied eyes 
I sleep till dusk is dipt in gray : 

And then I know the mist is drawn 
A lucid veil from coast to coast, 
And in the dark church like a ghost 

Thy tablet glimmers to the dawn. 



When in the down I sink my head, 

Sleep, Death's twin-brother, times my breath *, 
Sleep, Death's twin-brother, knows not Death, 

Nor can I dream of thee as dead. 

I walk as ere I walk'd forlorn, 

When all our path was fresh with dew, 

And all the bugle breezes blew 
Reveillee to the breaking morn. 

But what is this ? I turn about, 
I find a trouble in thine eye, 
Which makes me sad I know not why, 

Nor can my dream resolve the doubt : 

But ere the lark hath left the lea 

I wake, and I discern the truth ; 

It is the trouble of my youth 
That foolish sleep transfers to thee. 



' V _- 

I dream'd there would be Spring no more, 

That Nature's ancient power was lost : 
The streets were black with smoke and frost, 
They chatter'd trifles at the door. 

I wander'd from the noisy town, 

I found a wood with thorny boughs : 
I took the thorns to bind my brows, 

I wore them like a civic crown. 

I met with scoffs, I met with scorns 

From youth and babe and hoary hairs ; 
They call'd me in the public squares 

The fool that wears a crown of thorns. 

They call'd me fool, they call'd me child : 

I found an angel of the night ; 

The voice was low, the look was bright ; 
He look'd upon my crown and smiled. 

He reach'd the glory of a hand, 

That seem'd to touch it into leaf: 
The voice was not the voice of grief, 
The words were hard to understand. 



I cannot see the features right, 

When on the gloom I strive to paint 
The face I know ; the hues are faint 

And mix with hollow masks of night ; 

Cloud-towers by ghostly masons wrought, 
A gulf that ever shuts and gapes, 
A hand that points, and palled shapes 

In shadowy thoroughfares of thought ; 

And crowds that stream from yawning doors, 
And shoals of pucker'd faces drive ; 
Dark bulks that tumble half alive, 

And lazy lengths on boundless shores ; 

Till all at once beyond the will 
I hear a wizard music roll, 
And thro' a lattice on the soul 

Looks thy fair face and makes it still. 



Sleep, kinsman thou to death and trance 

And madness, thou hast forged at last 
, A night-long present of the past 
In which we went thro' summer France. 

Hadst thou such credit with the soul ? 
Then bring an opiate trebly strong, 
Drug down the blindfold sense of wrong, 

That so my pleasure may be whole ; 

While now we talk as once we talk'd 

Of men and minds, the dust of change, 
The days that grow to something strange, 

In walking as of old we walk'd 

Beside the river's wooded reach, 

The fortress, and the mountain ridge, 
The cataract flashing from the bridge, 

The breaker breaking on the beach. 



Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again, 
C And howlest, issuing out of night, 
(^With blasts that blow the poplar white/) 
And lash with storm the streaming pane ? 

Day. when my crown'd estate begun 
"* To pine in that reverse of doom, 

Which sicken'd every living bloom, 
And blurr'd the splendor of the sun ; 

Who usherest in the dolorous hour 

With thy quick tears that make the rose 
Pull sideways, and the daisy close 

Her crimson fringes to the shower ; 

Who mightst have heaved a windless flame 
Up the deep east, or, whispering, play'd 
A Qhejauer-w,pj;k of beam and shade 

Along the hills, yet look'd the same, 

As wan, as chill, as wild as now ; 

JDajj mark'd as with some hideous crime, 
When the dark hand struck down thro' time, 

And cancell'd nature's best : but thou, 

Lift as thou mayst thy 

Thro' clouds that drench the morning star, 
And whirl the ungarner'd sheaf afar, 

And s^w the sky with flying boughs, 


And up thy vault with roaring sound 

Climb thy thick noon, disastrous clay; 
Touch thy dull goal of joyless gray, 
And hide thy shame beneath the ground. 



So many worlds, so much to do, 

So little done, such things to be, 
How know I what had need of thee, 

For thou wert strong as thou wert true ? 

The fame is quench'd that I foresaw, 

The head hath miss'd an earthly wreath 
I curse not Nature, no, nor Death ; 

For nbtniog is tftat errs from l^w. 

We pass ; the path that each man trod 
Is dim, or will be dim, with weeds. 
What fame is left for human deeds 

In endless age ? It rests wiUjJlod. 

O hollow wraith of dying fame, 

Fade wholly, while the soul exults, 
And self-infolds the large results 

Of force that would have forged a name. 



As sometimes in a dead man's face, 

To those that watch it more and more, 
A likeness, hardly seen before, 

Comes out to some one of his race ; 

So, dearest, now thy brows are cold, 
I see thee what thou art, and know 
Thy likeness to the wise below, ^ 

IThy kindred with the great of old. J 

But there is more than I can see, 
And what I see I leave unsaid, 
Nor speak it, knowing Death has made 

His darkness beautiful with thee? 

84 /^ MEMORIAM. 


I leave thy praises unexpress'd 

( In verse that brings myself relief, ) 

And by the measure of my grief v 
I leave thy greatness to be guess'd. 


What practice howsoe'er expert 

In fitting aptest words to things, 
Or voice the richest-toned that sings, 

Hath power to give thee as thou wert ? 

I care not in these fading days 

To raise a cry that lasts not long, 

And round thee with the breeze of song 

To stir a little dust of praise. 

Thy leaf has perish'd in the green, 

And, while we breathe beneath the sun, 
The world which credits what is done 

Is cold to all that might have been. 

So here shall silence guard thy fame ; 
But somewhere, out of human view, 
Whate'er thy hands are set to do 

Is wrought with tumult of acclaim. 



Take wings of fancy, and ascend, 

And in a moment set thy face L> 

Where all the starry heavens of space "" \ 

Are sharpen 'd to a needle's end ; v 

Take wings of foresight ; lighten thro' 
The secular abyss to come, 
And lo, thy deepest lays are dumb 

Before the mouldering of a yew ; 

And if the matin songs, that woke 
The darkness of our planet, last, 
Thine own shall wither in the vast 

Ere half the lifetime of an oak. 

'Ere these have clothed their branchy bowers 
With fifty Mays, thy songs are vain ; 
And what are they when these remain 

The ruin'd shells of hollow towers ? 



What hope is here for modern rhyme 
To him who turns a musing eye 
On songs, and deeds, and lives, that lie 

Foreshorten'd in the tract of time ? 

These mortal lullabies of pain 

May bind a book, may line a box, 
May serve to curl a maiden's locks ; 

Or when a thousand moons shall wane 

A man upon a stall may find, 

And, passing, turn the page that tells 
A grief, then changed to something else, 

Sung by a long-forgotten mind. 

But what of that ? My darken 'd ways 
Shall ring with music all the same ; 
To breathe my loss is more than farhe, 

To utter love more sweet than praise. 



Again at Christmas did we weave 

The holly round the Christmas hearth ; 
The silent snow possess'd the earth, 

And calmly fell our Christmas-eve. 

The yule-log sparkled keen with frost, 
No wing of wind the^region swept, 
But oveTalTtnTngs brooding slept 

The quiet sense of something lost. 

As in the winters left behind, 

Again our ancient games had place, 
The mimic picture's breathing grace, 

And dance and song and hoodman-blind. 

Who show'd a token of distress ? ~" 
No single tear, no mark of pain : 
O sorrow, then can sorrow wane? 

O grief, can grief be changed to less ? 

O last regret, regret can die ! 

No mixt with all this mystic frame, 
Her deep relations are the same, 

But with long use her tears are dry. 



' More than my brothers are to me, 1 -~ 
Let this not vex thee, noble heart ! 
I know thee of what force thou art 

To hold the costliest love in fee. 

But thou and I are one in kind, 

As moulded like in Nature's mint ; 
And hill and wood and field did print 

The same sweet forms in either mind. 

For us the same cold streamlet curl'd 

Thro' all his eddying coves ; the same 
All winds that roam the twilight came 

In whispers of the beauteous world. 

At one dear knee we proffer'd vows, 

One lesson from one book we learn'd, 
Ere childhood's flaxen ringlet turn'd 

To black and brown on kindred brows. 

And so my wealth resembles thine, 
But he was rich where I was poor, 
And he supplied my want the more 

As his unlikeness fitted mine. 



If any vague desire should rise, 

That holy Death ere Arthur died 
Had moved me kindly from his side, 

And dropt the dust on tearless eyes ; 

Then fancy shapes, as fancy can, 

The grief my loss in him had wrought, 
A grief as deep as life or thought, 

But stay'd in peace with God and man. 

I make a picture in the brain ; 

I hear the sentence that he speaks ; 

He bears the burthen of the weeks, 
But turns his burthen into gain. 

His credit thus shall set me free ; 

And, influence-rich to soothe and save, 
Unused example from the grave 

Reach out dead hands to comfort me. 



Could I have said while he was here, 

* My love shall now no further range ; 
There cannot come a mellower change, 

For now is love mature in ear.' 

Love, then, had hope of richer store : 
What end is here to my complaint ? 
This haunting whisper makes me faint, 

* More years had made me love thee more.' 

But Death returns an answer sweet : 

* My sudden frost was sudden gain, 
And gave all ripeness to the grain 

It might have drawn from after-heat.' 



I wage not any feud with Death 

For changes wrought on form and face 
No lower life that earth's embrace 

May breed with him can fright my faith. 

Eternal process moving on, 

From state to state the spirit walks ; 

And these are but the shatter'd stalks 
Or ruin'd chrysalis of one. 

Nor blame I Death, because he bare 
The use of virtue out of earth : 
I know transplanted human worth 

Will bloom to profit, otherwhere. 

For this alone on Death I wreak 

The wrath that garners in my heart; 
Hput our lives so far apart 

We cannot hear each other speaks 



Dip down upon the northern shore, 
O sweet new-year delaying long ; 
Thou doest expectant nature wrong ; 

Delaying long, delay no more. 

What stays thee from the clouded noons, 
Thy sweetness from its proper place ? 
Can trouble live with April days, 

Or sadness in the summer moons ? 

Bring orchis, bring the foxglove spire, 
The little speedwell's darling blue, 
Deep tulips dash'd with fiery dew, 

Laburnums, dropping-wells of fire. 

O thou, new-year, delaying long, 

Delayest the sorrow in my blood, 
That longs to burst a frozen bud 

And flood a fresher throat with song 



When I contemplate all alone 

The life that had been thine below, 
And fix my thoughts on all the glow 

To which thy crescent would have grown, 

I see thee sitting crown 'dwith_good, 
A central warmth diffusing bliss 
In glance and smile, and clasp and kiss, 

On all the branches of thy blood ; 

Thy blood, my friend, and partly mine ; 
For now the day was drawing on, 
When thou shouldst link thy life with one 

Of mine own house, and boys of thine 


Had babbled ' Uncle ' on my knee ; 
But that remorseless iron hour 
_Made cypress of her orange flower, 

Despair of hope, and earth of thee. 



I seem to meet their least desire, 

To clap their cheeks, to call them mine. 

I see their unborn faces shine 
Beside the never-lighted fire. 

I see myself an honor'd guest, 

Thy partner in the flowery walk 
Of letters, genial table-talk, 

Or deep dispute, and graceful jest ; 

94 W ' ME MORI AM. 

While now thy prosperous labor fills 
The lips of men with honest praise, 
And sun by sun the happy days 

Descend below the golden hills 

With promise of a morn as fair ; 

And all the train of bounteous hours 
Conduct, by paths of growing powers, 

To reverence and the silver hair ; 

Till slowly worn her earthly robe, 

Her lavish mission richly wrought, 
Leaving great legacies of thought, 

Thy spirit should fail from off the globe ; 

What time mine own might also flee, 

As link'd with thine in love and fate, 
And, hovering o'er the dolorous strait 

To the other shore, involved in thee, 

Arrive at last the blessed goal, 

And He that died in Holy Land 
Would reach us out the shining hand, 

And take us as a single soul. 

What reed was that on which I leant ? 
Ah, backward fancy, wherefore wake 
The old bitterness again, and break 

The low beginnings of content ? 



This truth came borne with bier and pall, 
I felt it, when I sorrowed most, 
'T is better to have loved and lost,\ 
(Than never to have loved at all 

O true in word, and tried in deed, 
Demanding, so to bring relief 
To this which is our common grief, 

What kind of life is that I lead ; 

And whether trust in things above 

Be dimm'd of sorrow, or sustain'd ; 
And whether love for him have drain'd 

My capabilities of love ; 

Your words have virtue such as draws 
A faithful answer from the breast, 
Thro' light reproaches, half exprest, 

And loyal unto kindly laws. 

My blood an even tenor kept, 

Till on mine ear this message falls, 
.- That in Vienna's fatal walls 
( God's finger touch'd him, and he slept 


The great Intelligences fair 

That range above our mortal state, 
In circle round the blessed gate, 

Received and gave him welcome there ; 


And led him thro' the blissful climes, 

And show'd him in the fountain fresh 
All knowledge that the sons of flesh 

Shall gather in the cycled times. 

But I remain'd, whose hopes were dim, 

Whose life, whose thoughts were little worth, 
To wander on a darken'd earth, 

Where all things round me breathed of him. 

O friendship, equal-poised control, 

O heart, with kindliest motion warm, 

sacred essence, other form, 
O solemn ghost, O crowned soul ! 

Yet none could better know than I, 
How much of act at human hands 
The sense of human will demands 

By which we dare to live or die. 

Whatever way my days decline, 

1 felt and feel, tho' left alone, 
His being working in mine own, 

The footsteps of his life in mine ; 

A life that all the Muses deck'd 

With gifts of grace, that might express 
All-comprehensive tenderness, 

All-subtilizing intellect : 

And so my passion hath not swerved 
To works of weakness, but I find 
An image comforting the mind, 

/And in my grief a strength reserved. 




Likewise the imaginative woe, 

That loved to handle spiritual strife, 
Diffused the shock thro' all my life, 

But in the present broke the blow. 

My pulses therefore beat again 

For other friends that once I met; 

Nor can it suit me to forget 
The mighty hopes that make us men. 

I woo your love : I count it crime -v 
I To mourn for any overmuch ; \ 

I, the divided half of such 
A friendship as had master'd Time ; 

Which masters Time indeed, and is 
Eternal, separate from fears : 
The all-assuming months and years 

Can take no part away from this : 

But Summer on the steaming floods, 

And Spring that swells the narrow brooks, 
And Autumn, with a noise of rooks, 

That gather in the waning woods, 

And every pulse of wind and wave 

Recalls, in change of light or gloon\ 
My old affection of the tomb, 

And my prime passion in the grave. 

My old affection of the tomb, 

A part of stillness, yearns to speak : 
* Arise, and get thee forth and seek 

A friendship for the years to come. 


1 1 watch thee from the quiet shore ; 

Thy spirit up to mine can reach ; 

But in dear words of human speech 
We two communicate no more.' 

And I, ' Can clouds of nature stain 
The starry clearness of the free ? 

How is it ? Canst thou feel for me 
Some painless sympathy with pain ? ' 

And lightly does the whisper fall : 

' 'T is hard for thee to fathom this ; 
I triumph in conclusive bliss, 

And that serene result of all/ 

So hold I commerce with the dead ; 

Or so methinks the dead would say ; 

Or so shall grief with symbols play 
And pining life be fancy-fed. 

Now looking to some settled end, 

That these things pass, and I shall prove 
A meeting somewhere, love with love, 

I crave your pardon, O my friend ; 

If not so fresh, with love as true, 
I, clasping brother-hands, aver 
I could not, if I would, transfer 

The whole I felt for him to you. 

For which be they that hold apart 

The promise of the golden hours ? 
First love, first friendship, equal powers, 

That marry with the virgin heart. 


Still mine, that cannot but deplore, 
That beats within a lonely place, 
That yet remembers his embrace, 

But at his footstep leaps no more, 

My heart, tho' widow'd, may not rest 

Quite in the love of what is gone, 

But seeks to beat in time with one 

That warms another living breast. 

Ah, take the imperfect gift I bring, 
Knowing the primrose yet is dear, 
The primrose of the later year, 

As not unlike to that of spring. 



Sweet after showers, ambrosial air, 

That rollest from the gorgeous gloom 
Of evening over brake and bloom 

And meadow, slowly breathing bare 

The round of space, and rapt below 
Thro' all the dewy-tassell'd wood, 
And shadowing down the horned flood 

In ripples, fan my brows and blow 

The fever from my cheek, and sigh 

The full new life that feeds thy breath 
Throughout my frame, till Doubt and Death, 

111 brethren, let the fancy fly 

From belt to belt of crimson seas 

On leagues of odor streaming far, 
To where in yonder orient star 

A Jiundred spirits whisper ' Peace.' 



I past beside the reverend walls 

In which of old I wore the gown ; 
I roved at random thro' the town, 

And saw the tumult of the halls ; 

And heard once more in college fanes 

The storm their high-built organs make, 
And thunder-music, rolling, shake 

The prophet blazon'd on the panes ; 

And caught once more the distant shout, 
The measured pulse of racing oars 
Among the willows ; paced the shores 

And many a bridge, and all about 

The same gray flats again, and felt 

The same, but not the same ; and last 
Up that long walk of limes I past 

To see the rooms in which he dwelt. 

Another name was on the door : 
I linger'd ; all within was noise 
Of songs, and clapping hands, and boys 

That crash'd the glass and beat the floor ; 

Where once we held debate, a band 

Of youthful friends, on mind and art, 
And labor, and the changing mart, 

And all the framework of the land ; 


When one would aim an arrow fair, 

But send it slackly from the string ; 
And one would pierce an outer ring, 

And one an inner, here and there ; 

And last the master-bowman, he, 

Would cleave the mark. A willing ear 
We lent him. Who, but hung to hear 

The rapt oration flowing free 

From point to point, with power and grace 
And music in the bounds of law, 
To those conclusions when we saw 

The God within him light his /ace, 

And seem to lift the form, and glow 
In azure orbits heavenly-wise ; 
And over those ethereal eyes 1 

The bar of Michael Angelo ? / 



Wild bird, whose warble, liquid sweet, 
Rings Eden thro' the budded quicks, 

tell me where the senses mix, 
O tell me where the passions meet, 

Whence radiate : fierce extremes employ 
Thy spirits in the darkening leaf, 
And in the midmost heart of grief 

Thy passion clasps a secret joy : 

And I my harp would prelude woe 

1 cannot all command the strings ; 
The glory of the sum of things 

Will flash along the chords and go. 



Witch-elms that counterchange the floor 
Of this flat lawn with dusk and bright, 
And thou, with all thy breadth and height 

Of foliage, towering sycamore ; 

How often, hither wandering down, 

My Arthur found your shadows fair, 
And shook to all the liberal air 

The dust and din and steam of town ! 

f He brought an eye for all he saw ; 

He mixt in all our simple sports ; 
They pleased him, fresh from brawling courts 
And dusty purlieus of the law. 

O joy to him in this retreat, 

Immantled in ambrosial dark, 
To drink the cooler air, and mark 

The landscape winking thro' the heat ! 

O sound to rout the brood of cares, 

The sweep of scythe in morning dew, 
The gust that round the garden flew, 

And tumbled half the mellowing pears ! 

O bliss, when all in circle drawn 

About him, heart and ear were fed 
To hear him, as he lay and read 

The Tuscan poets on the lawn ; 

IN ME MORI AM. 1 05 

Or in the all-golden afternoon 

A guest, or happy sister, sung, 

Or here she brought the harp and flung 

A ballad to the brightening moon ! 

Nor less it pleased in livelier moods, 
Beyond the bounding hill to stray, 
And break the livelong summer day 

With banquet in the distant woods ; 

Whereat we glanced from theme to theme, 

Discuss'd the books to love -or hate, 
~ Or touch'd the changes of the state, 
f Or threaded some Socratic dream ; 

But if I praised the busy town, 

He loved to rail against it still, 

For 'ground in yonder social mill 
We rub each other's angles down, 

'And merge,' he said, 'in form and gloss 
The picturesque of man and man/ 
We talk'd : the stream beneath us ran, 

The wine-flask lying couch'd in moss, 

Or cool'd within the glooming wave; 

And last, returning from afar, 

Before the crimson-circled star 
Had fallen into her father's grave, 

And brushing ankle-deep in flowers, 

We heard behind the woodbine veil 
The milk that bubbled in the pail, 

And buzzings of the honeyed hours. 



He tasted love with half his mind, 

Nor ever drank the inviolate spring 
Where nighest heaven, who first could fling 

This bitter seed among mankind : 

That could the dead, whose dying eyes 

Were closed with wail, resume their life, 
They would but find in child and wife 

An iron welcome when they rise. 

Twas well, indeed, when warm with wine, 
To pledge them with a kindly tear, 
To talk them o'er, to wish them here, 

To count their memories half divine ; 

But if they came who past away, 

Behold their brides in other hands ; 
The hard heir strides about their lands, 

And will not yield them for a day. 

Yea, tho' their sons were none of these, 
Not less the yet-loved sire would make 
Confusion worse than death, and shake 

The pillars of domestic peace. 

Ah, dear, but come thou back to me : 

Whatever change the years have wrought, 
I find not yet one lonely thought 

That cries against my wish for thee. 



When rosy plumelets tuft the larch, 

And rarely pipes the mounted thrush, 
Or underneath the barren bush 

Flits by the sea-blue bird of March; *." V .s 

Come, wear the form by which I know 
Thy spirit in time among thy peers ; 
The hope of unaccomplished years 

Be large and lucid round thy brow. 

When summer's hourly-mellowing change 
May breathe, with many roses sweet, 
Upon the thousand waves of wheat 

That ripple round the lonely grange, 

Come ; not in watches of the night, 

But where the sunbeam broodeth warm, 
Come, beauteous in thine after form, 

And like a finer light in light 



If any vision should reveal 

Thy likeness, I might count it vain 
As but the canker of the brain ; 

Yea, tho' it spake and made appeal 

To chances where our lots were cast 
Together in the days behind, 
I might but say, I hear a wind 

Of memory murmuring the past. 

Yea, tho' it spake and bared to view 
A fact within the coming year ; 
And tho' the months, revolving near, 

Should prove the phantom-warning true, 

They might not seem thy prophecies, 

But spiritual presentiments, 
> And such refraction of events 
(As often rises ere they rise. 



I shall not see thee. Dare I say 
No spirit ever brake the band 
That stays him from the native land 

Where first he walk'd when claspt in clay ? 

No visual shade of some one lost, 

But he, the Spirit himself, may come 
Where all the nerve of sense is numb ; 

Spirit to Spirit, Ghost to Ghost. 

O, therefore from thy sightless range 
With gods in unconjectured bliss, 
O, from the distance of the abyss 

Of tenfold-complicated change, 

Descend, and touch, and enter ; hear 

The wish too strong for words to name 
That in this blindness of the frame 

My Ghost may feel that thine is near. 



How pure at heart and sound in head, 

With what divine affections bold, 

Should be the man whose thought would hold 
An hour's communion with the dead. 

In vain shalt thou, or any, call 

The spirits from their golden day, 
Except, like them, thou too canst say, 

My spirit is at peace with all. 

They haunt the silence of the breast, 

Imaginations calm and fair, 

The memory like a cloudless air, 
The conscience as a sea at rest ; 

But when the heart is full of din, 

And doubt beside the portal waits, 
They can but listen at the gates, 

And hear the household jar within. 

IN ME MORI AM, 1 1 1 



By night we linger'd on the lawn, 

For underfoot the herb was dry ; 
And genial warmth ; and o'er the sky 

The silvery haze of summer drawn ; 

And calm that let the tapers burn 

Unwavering : not a cricket chirr'd : 
The brook alone far-off was heard, 

And on the board the fluttering urn. 

And bats went round in fragrant skies, 
And wheel'd or lit the filmy shapes 
That haunt the dusk, with ermine capes 

And woolly breasts and beaded eyes ; 

y/hjWnrvff; w * gang p[cLgpngs that peal!d-- 

From knoll to knoll, where, couch'd at ease, 
The wKite kine glimmer'd, and the trees 

Laid th eir dark arms 

But when those others, one by one, 

Withdrew themselves from me and night, 
And in the house light after light 

Went out, and I was all alone, 

AJhunger seizeoljrryjip^rf ; Thread 

Of that glad year which once had been, 

In those fallen leaves which kept their green, 

The noble letters of the dead. 


And strangely on the silence broke 

The_silejit=gpeaking words, and strange 
Was love's dumb cry defying change 

To test his worth ; and strangely spoke 

The faith, the vigor, bold to dwell 

On doubts that drive the coward back, 
And keen thro' wordy snares to track 

Suggestion to her inmost cell. 

So word by word, and line by line, 

The dead man touch'd me from the past, 
And all at once it seem'd at last 

The living soul was flash'd on mine, 

And mine in this was wound, and whirl'd 
About empyreal heights of thought, 
And came on that which is, and caught 

The deep pulsations of the world, 

Ionian music measuring out 

The steps of Time the shocks of Chance - 
The blows of Death. At length my trance 

Was cancell'd, stricken thro' with doubt. 

Vague words ! but ah, how hard to frame 
In matter-moulded forms of speech, 
Or even for intellect to reach 

Thro' memory that which I became: 

Till now the doubtful dusk reveal'd 

The knolls once more where, couch'd at ease, 
The white kine glimmer'd, and the trees 

Laid their dark arms about the field ; 


And suck'd from out the distant gloom 

A breeze began to tremble o'er 

The large leaves of the sycamore, 
And fluctuate all the still perfume, 

And, gathering freshlier overhead, 

Rock'd the full-foliaged elms, and swung 
The heavy-folded rose, and flung 

The lilies to and fro, and said, 

* The dawn, the dawn/ and died away ; 
And East and West, without a breath, 
Mixt their dim lights, like life and death, 

To broaden into boundless day. 



You say, but with no touch of scorn, 

Sweet-hearted, you, whose light-blue eyes 
Are tender over drowning flies, 

You tell me, doubt is Devil-born. 

I know not : one indeed I knew 

( In many a subtle question versed^) 
Who touch 'd a jarring lyre at first, 
But ever strove to make it true : 

Perplext in faith, but pure in deeds, 

At last he beat his music out. 

.There lives more faith in honest doubt, 
Believe me, than in half the creeds. 

He fought his doubts and gather'd strength, 
He would not make his judgment blind, 
He faced the spectres of the mind 

And laid them : thus he came at length 

To find a stronger faith his own ; 

And Power was with him in the night, 
Which makes the darkness and the light, 

And dwells not in the light alone, 

But in the darkness and the cloud, 
As over Sinai's peaks of old, 
While Israel made their gods of gold, 

Altho' the trumpet blew so loud. 



My love has talk'd with rocks and trees ; 
He finds on misty mountain-ground 
His own vast shadow glory-crown'd ; 

He sees himself in all he sees. 

Two partners of a married life 

I look'd on these and thought of thee 
In vastness and in mystery, 

And of my spirit as of a wife. 

These two they dwelt with eye on eye, 
Their hearts of old have beat in tune, 
Their meetings made December June, 

Their every parting was to die. 

Their love has never past away ; 
The days she never can forget 
Are earnest that he loves her yet, 

Whate'er the faithless people say. 

Her life is lone, he sits apart ; 

He loves her yet, she will not weep, 
Tho' rapt in matters dark and deep 

He seems to slight her simple heart. 

He thrids the labyrinth of the mind, 
He reads the secret of the star, 
He seems so near and yet so far, 

He looks so cold : she thinks him kind. 


She keeps the gift of years before, 
A wither'd violet is her bliss : 
She knows not what his greatness i$ 

For that, for all, she loves him more. 

For him she plays, to him she sings 
Of early faith and plighted vows , 
She knows but matters of the house, 

And he, he knows a thousand things. 

Her faith is fixt and cannot move, 

She darkly feels him great and wise, 
She dwells on him with faithful eyes, 

6 1 cannot understand : I love.' 



You leave us : you will see the Rhine, 
And those fair hills I saiPd below, 
When I was there with him ; and go 

By summer belts of wheat and vine 

To where he breathed his latest breath, 
That city. All her splendor seems 
No livelier than the wisp that gleams 

On Lethe in the eyes of Death. 

Let her great Danube rolling fair 

Enwind her isles, umnark'd of me : 
I have not seen, I will not see 

Vienna \ rather dream that there, 

A treble darkness, Evil haunts 

The birth, the bridal ; friend from friend 
Is oftener parted, fathers bend 

Above more graves, a thousand wants 

Gnarr at the heels of men, and prey 

By each cold hearth, and sadness flings 
Her shadow on the blaze of kings. 

And yet myself have heard him say 

That not in any mother town 

With statelier progress to and fro 
The double tides of chariots flow 

By park and suburb under brown 


Of lustier leaves ; nor more content, 
He told me, lives in any crowd, 
When all is gay with lamps, and loud 

With sport and song, in booth and tent, 

Imperial halls, or open plain ; 

And wheels the circled dance, and breaks 
The rocket molten into flakes 

Of crimson or in emerald rain. 



Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again, 

fSo loud with voices of the birds, 

(^So thick with lowings of the herds, 
Day, when I lost the flower of men ; . 

Who tremblest thro' thy darkling red \ -v- 

On yon swollen brook that bubbles fast-r - ~V3 
By meadows breathing of the past, 

And woodlands holy to the dead ; ^^ 

*i -V Who murmurest in the foliaged eaves 

-^ A song that slights the coming qare, 

And Autumn lavjiig here and there 
A fiery finger on the leaves : 

J <*y-V,^- u<t 

Who wakenest with thy balmy breath 
To myriads on the genial earth, 
Memories of bridal, or of birth, 
^/ And unto myriads more, of death. 

O, wheresoever those may be, 

Betwixt the slumber of the poles, 
To-day they count as kindred souls ; 
They know me not, but mourn with me. 


I climb the hill : from end to end 
Of all the landscape underneath, 
I find no place that does not breathe 

Some gracious memory of my friend ; 

No gray old grange, or lonely fold, 

Or low morass and whispering reed, 
Or simple stile from mead to mead, 

Or sheepwalk up the windy wold ; 

Nor hoary knoll of ash and haw 

That hears the latest linnet trill, 
Nor quarry trench'd along the hill 

And haunted by the wrangling daw ; 

Nor runlet tinkling from the rock, 
Nor pastoral rivulet that swerves 
To left and right thro' meadowy curves, 

That feed the mothers of the flock ; 


But each has pleased a kindred eye, 
And each reflects a kindlier day ; 
And, leaving these, to pass away, 

I think once more he seems to die. 



Unwatch'd, the garden bough shall sway, 
The tender blossom flutter down, 
Unloved, that beech will gather brown, 

This maple burn itself away ; 

Unloved, the sun-flower, shining fair, 

Ray round with flames her disk of seed, 
And many a rose-carnation feed 

With summer spice the humming air ; 

Unloved, by many a sandy bar, 

The brook shall babble down the plain, 
At noon or when the Lesser Wain 

Is twisting round the polar star ; 

Uncared for, gird the windy grove, 

And flood the haunts of hern and crake, 
Or into silver arrows break 

The sailing moon in creek and cove ; 

Till from the garden and the wild 

A fresh association blow, 

And year by year the landscape grow 
Familiar to the stranger's child ; 

As year by year the laborer tills 

His wonted glebe, or lops the glades ; 
And year by year our memory fades 

From all the circle of the hills. 



We leave the well-beloved place 

Where first we gazed upon the sky ; 
The roofs that heard our earliest cry 

Will shelter one of stranger race. 

We go, but ere we go from home, 

As down the garden-walks I move, 
Two spirits of a diverse love 

Contend for loving masterdom. 

One whispers, ' Here thy boyhood sung 
Long since its matin song, and heard 
The low love-language of the bird 

In native hazels tassel-hung.' 

The other answers, ' Yea, but here 

Thy feet have stray'd in after hours 
With thy lost friend among the bowers, 

And this hath made them trebly dear.' 

These two have striven half the day, 

And each prefers his separate claim, 
Poor rivals in a losing game, 

That will not yield each other way. 

I turn to go : my feet are set 

To leave the pleasant fields and farms ; 

They mix in one another's arms 
To one pure image of regret. 



On that last night before we went 

From out the doors where I was bred, 
I dream'd a vision of the dead, 

Which left my after-morn content. 

Methought I dwelt within a hall, 

And maidens with me : distant hills 
From hidden summits fed with rills 

A river sliding by the wall. 

The hall with harp and carol rang. 

They sang of what is wise and good 
And graceful. In the centre stood 

A statue veil'd, to which they sang ; 

And which, tho' veil'd, was known to me, 
The shape of him I loved, and love 
For ever : then flew in a dove 

And brought a summons from the sea : 

And when they learnt that I must go, 

They wept and wail'd, but led the way 
To where a little shallop lay 

At anchor in the fYood below ; 

And on by many a level mead, 

And shadowing bluff that made the banks, 
We glided winding under ranks 

Of iris and the golden reed ; 


And still as vaster grew the shore 

And roll'd the floods in grander space, 
The maidens gather'd strength and grace 

And presence, lordlier than before ; 

And I myself, who sat apart 

And watch'd them, wax'd in every limb ; 

I felt the thews of Anakim, 
The pulses of a Titan's heart ; 

As one would sing the death of war, 
And one would chant the history 
Of that great race which is to be, 

And one the shaping of a star ; 

Until the forward-creeping tides 
Began to foam, and we to draw 
From deep to deep, to where we saw 

A great ship lift her shining sides. 

The man we loved was there on deck, 

But thrice as large as man he bent 1 J 
To greet us. Up the side I went, ' 

And fell in silence on his neck : 

Whereat those maidens with one mind 

Bewail'd their lot ; I did them wrong : 
, ' We served thee here,' they said, ' so long, 

And wilt thou leave us now behind ? ' 

So rapt I was, they could not win 
An answer from my lips, but he 
Replying, ' Enter likewise ye, 

And go with us : ' they enter'd in. 


And while the wind began to sweep 
A music out of sheet and shroud, 
We steer'd her toward a crimson cloud 

That landlike slept along the deep. 



The time draws near the birth of Christ ; 

The moon is hid, the night is still ; 

A single church below the hill 
Is pealing, folded in the mist. 

A single peal of bells below, 

That wakens at this hour of rest 
A single murmur in the breast, 

That these are not the bells I know. 

Like strangers' voices here they sound, 
In lands where not a memory strays, 
Nor landmark breathes of other days, 

But all is new unhallow'd ground. 



To-night ungather'd let us leave 

This laurel, let this holly stand ; 

We live within the stranger's land, 
And strangely falls our Christmas-eve. 

Our father's dust is left alone 

And silent under other snows : 

There in due time the woodbine blows, 

The violet comes, but we are gone. 

No more shall wayward grief abuse \ 

The genial hour with mask and mime ; 
For change of place, like growth of time, 

Has broke the bond of dying use. 

Let cares that petty shadows cast, 

By which our lives are chiefly proved, 
A little spare the night I loved, 

And hold it solemn to the past. 

But let no footstep beat the floor, (^ 

Nor bowl of wassail mantle warm ; l x 

For who would keep an ancient form \ ' #*f 

Thro' which the spirit breathes no more ? ) 

Be neither song, nor game, nor feast ; 

Nor harp be touch'd, nor flute be blown ; 

No dance, no motion, save alone 
What lightens in the lucid east 


Of rising worlds by yonder wood. 

Long sleeps the summer in the seed ; 

Run out your measured arcs, and lead 
The closing cycle rich in good. 



Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, 
The flying cloud, the frosty light : 
The year is dying in the night ; 

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die. 

Ring out the old, ring in the new, 

Ring, happy bells, across the snow: 
The year is going, let him go ; 

Ring out the false, ring in the true. 

Ring out the grief that saps the mind, 
For those that here we see no more ; 
Ring out the feud of rich and poor, 

Ring in redress to all mankind. 

Ring out a slowly dying cause, 

And ancient forms of party strife ; 
Ring in the nobler modes of life, 

With sweeter manners, purer laws. 

Ring out the want, the care, the sin, 

The faithless coldness of the times ; 
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes, 

But ring the fuller minstrel in. 

Ring out false pride in place and blood, 
The civic slander and the spite ; 
Ring in the love of truth and right, 

Ring in the common love of good. 


Ring out old shapes of foul disease ; 

Ring out the narrowing lust of gold ; 

Ring out the thousand wars of old, 
Ring in the thousand years of peace. 

Ring in the valiant man and free, 

The larger heart, the kindlier hand ; 
Ring out the darkness of the land, 

Ring in the Christ that is to be. 



It is the day when he was born, 

A bitter day that early sank 

Behind a purple-frosty bank 
Of vapor, leaving night forlorn. 

The time admits not flowers or leaves 
To deck the banquet. Fiercely flies 
The blast of North and East, and ice 

Makes daggers at the sharpen'd eaves, 

And bristles all the brakes and thorns 
To yon hard crescent, as she hangs 
Above the wood which grides and clangs 

Its leafless ribs and iron horns 

Together, in the drifts that pass 

To darken on the rolling brine 

That breaks the coast. But fetch the wine, 
Arrange the board and brim the glass ; 

Bring in great logs and let them lie, 

To make a solrfl core of heat ; 

Be cheerful-minded, talk and treat 
Of all things even as he were by ; 

We keep the day. With festal cheer, 
With books and music, surely we 
Will drink to him, whate'er he be, 

And sing the songs he loved to hear. 



I will not shut me from my kind, 
And, lest I stiffen into stone, 
I will not eat myjigart alone, 

Nor feed wittTslghs a passing wind : 

What profit lies in barren faith, 

And vacant yearning, tho' with might 
To scale the heaven's highest height, 

Or dive below the wells of death ? 

What find I in the highest place 

But mine own phantom chanting hymns ? 

And on the depths of death there swims 
The reflex of a human face. 

I '11 rather take what fruit may be 
Of sorrow under human skies : 
'T is held that sorrow makes us wise, 

Whatever wisdom sleep with thee. 



Heart-affluence in discursive talk 

From household fountains never dry ; 
The critic clearness of an eye 

That saw thro' all the Muses' walk ; 

Seraphic intellect and force 

To seize and throw the doubts of man | 
Impassion'd logic, which outran 

The hearer in its fiery course ; 

IHigh nature amorous of the good, \ 
\ But touch'd with no ascetic gloomu 
And passion pure in snowy bloom 
Thro' all the years of April blood ; 

A love of freedom rarely felt, 

Of freedom in her regal seat 

Of England ; not the schoolboy heat, 

The blind hysterics of the Celt ; 

And manhood fused with female grace 
In such a sort, the child would twine 
A trustful hand, unask'd, in thine, 

And find his comfort in thy face ; 

All these have been, and thee mine eyes 
Have look'd on : if they look'd in vain, 
My shame is greater who remain, 

Nor let thy wisdom make me wise. 

134 W MEMO RI AM. 


Thy converse drew us with delight, 
The men of rathe and riper years ; 
The feeble soul, a haunt of fears, 

Forgot his weakness in thy sight. 

On thee the loyal-hearted hung, 

The proud was half disarm'd of pride, 
Nor cared the serpent at thy side 

To flicker with his double tongue. 

The stern were mild when thou wert by, 
The flippanjt put himself to school 
And heard thee, and the brazen fool 

Was soften'd, and he knew not why ; 

While I, thy nearest, sat apart, 

And felt thy triumph was as mine ; 

And loved them more, that they were thine, 

The graceful tact, the Christian art ; 

Nor mine the sweetness or the skill, 

But mine the love that will not tire, 
And, born of love, the vague desire 

That spurs an imitative will. 




The churl in spirit, up or down 

Along the scale of ranks, thro' all, 
To him who grasps a golden ball, 

By blood a king, at heart a clown, 

The churl in spirit, howe'er he veil 

His want in forms for fashion's sake, 
Wilt let his coltish nature break 

At seasons thro' the gilded pale ; 

For who can always act ? but he, 

To whom a thousand memories call, 
Not being less but more than all 

The gentleness he seem'd to be, 

Best seem'd the thing he was, and join'd 
Each office of the social hour 
To noble manners, as the flower 

And native growth of noble mind ; 

Nor ever narrowness or spite, 
Or villain fancy fleeting by, 
Drew in the expression of an eye 

Where jyojLand Nature metinjight ; 

And thus he bore without abuse 

The grand old name of gentleman, 
Defamed by every charlatan, 

And soil'd with all ignoble use. 



High wisdom holds my wisdom less, 

That I, who gaze with temperate eyes 
On glorious insufficiencies, 

Set light by narrower perfectness. 

But thou, that fillest all the room 
Of all my love, art reason why 
I seem to cast a careless eye 

On souls, the lesser lords of doom. 

For what wert thou ? some novel power 
Sprang up for ever at a touch, 
And hope could never hope too much, 

In watching thee from hour to hour, 

Large elements in order brought, 

And tracts of calm from tempest made, 
And world-wide fluctuation sway'd 

In vassal tides that follow'd thought. 



*Tjs held tha^ sorrow makes usjwise ; 

Yet how much wisdom sleeps with thee 
Which not alone had guided me, 

But served the seasons that may rise ; 

For can I doubt, who knew thee keen 
In intellect, with force and skill 
To strive, to fashion, to fulfil 

I doubt not what thou wouldst have been : 

A life in civic action warm, 

A soul on highest mission sent, 
A potent voice of Parliament, 

A pillar steadfast in the storm, 

Should licensed boldness gather force, 
Becoming, when the time has birth, 
A lever to uplift the earth 

And roll it in another course, 

With thousand shocks that come and go, 
With agonies, with energies, 
With overthrowings, and with cries, 

And undulations to and fro. 



Who loves not Knowledge ? Who shall rail 
Against her beauty ? May she mix 
With men and prosper ! Who shall fix 

Her pillars ? Let her work prevail. 

But on her forehead sits a fire : 

She sets her forward countenance 
And leaps into the future chance, 

Submitting all things to desire. 

Half-grown as yet, a child, and vain \ 
She cannot fight the fear of death. ) 
What is she, cut from love and faith, 

But some wild Pallas from the brain 

Of demons ? fiery-hot to burst 

All barriers in her onward race 

For power. Let her know her place ; 

She is the second, not the fir 

A higher hand must make her mild, 
If all be not in vain, and guide 
Her footsteps, moving side by side 

With Wisdom, like the younger child ; 

For she is earthly of the mind, 

But Wisdom heavenly of the soul. ] 
O friend, who earnest to thy goal 

So early, leaving me behind, 


I would the great world grew like thee, 
Who grewest not alone in power 
And knowledge, but by year and hour 

In reverence and in charity. 



Now fades the last long streak of snow, 
Now burgeons every maze of quick 
About the flowering squares, and thick 

By ashen roots the violets blow. 

Now rings the woodland loud and long, 
The distance takes a lovelier hue, 
And drown'd in yonder living blue 

The lark becomes a sightless song. 

Now dance the lights on lawn and lea, 
The flocks are whiter down the vale, 
And milkier every milky sail 

On winding stream or distant sea ; 

Where now the seamew pipes, or dives 
In yonder greening gleam, and fly 
The happy birds, that change their sky 

To build and brood, that live their lives 

Frt>m land to land ; and in my breast 
Spring wakens too, and my regret 
Becomes an April violet, 

And buds and blossoms like the rest 

ME MORI AM, 141 


Is it, then, regret for buried time 

That keenlier in sweet April wakes, 
And meets the year, and gives and takes 

The colors of the crescent prime ? 

Not all : the songs, the stirring air, 
The life re-orient out of dust, 
Cry thro' the sense to hearten trust 

In that which made the world so fair. 

Not all regret : the face will shine 
Upon me, while I muse alone ; 
And that dear voice, I once have known, 

Still speak to me of me and mine : 

Yet less of sorrow lives in me 

For days of happy commune dead, 
Less yearning for the friendship fled 

Than some strong bond which is to be. 



O days and hours, your work is this, 
To hold me from my proper place, 
A little while from his embrace, 

For fuller gain of after bliss : 

That out of distance might ensue 

Desire of nearness doubly sweet, 
And unto meeting, when we meet, 

Delight a hundredfold accrue, 

For every grain of sand that runs, 

And every span of shade that steals, 
And every kiss of toothed wheels, 

And all the courses of the suns. 



Contemplate all this work of Time, 
The giant laboring in his youth ; 
Nor dream of human love and truth 

As dying Nature's earth and lime ; 

But trust that those we call the dead 
Are breathers of an ampler day 
For ever nobler ends. ^They say^ 

The solid earth whereon we tread 

In tracts of fluent heat begarv- 

And grew to seeming-random forms, 
The seeming prey of cyclic storms, 

Till at the last arose the man ; 

Who throve and branch'd from clime to clime, 
The herald of a higher race, 
And of himself in higher place, 

If sa he type this work of time 
*. *^ 

Within himself, from more to more ; 
Or, crown'd with attributes of woe 
Like glories, move his course, and show 

That life is not as i(|le ore^ 

But iron dug from central gloom, 

And heated hot with burning fears, 
And dipt in baths of hissing tears, 

And batter'd with the shocks of doom 


,To shape and use. Arise and fly 
^ v ^ ^ i The reeling Faun, the sensual feast ; 
Move upward, working out the beast, 
And let the ape and tiger die. 



Doors, where my heart was used to beat 
So quickly, not as one that weeps 
I come once more ; the city sleeps ; 

I smell the meadow in the street ; 

I hear a chirp of birds ; I see 

Betwixt the black fronts long-withdrawn 
A light-blue lane of early dawn, 

And think of early days and thee, 

And bless thee, for thy lips are bland, 

And bright the friendship of thine eye ; 
And in my thoughts with scarce a sigh 

I take the pressure of thine hand. 



I trust I have not wasted breath : 
I think we are not wholly brain, 
Magnetic mockeries ; not in vain, 

Like Paul with beasts, I fought with Death ; 

Not only cunning casts in clay : 
Let Science prove we are, and 
What matters Science unto men, 

At least to me ? I would not stay. 

Let him, the wiser man who springs 

Hereafter, up from childhood shape 
His action like the greater ape, 

But I was born to other things. 



Sad Hesper o'er the buried sun 

And ready, thou, to die with him, 
Thou watchest all things ever dim 

And dimmer, and a glory done : 

The team is loosen'd from the wain, 
The boat is drawn upon the shore ; 
Thou listenest to the closing door, 

And life is darken'd in the brain. 

Bright Phosphor, fresher for the night, 

By thee the world's great work is heard 
Beginning, and the wakeful bird ; 

Behind thee comes the greater light : 

The market boat is on the stream, 

And voices hail it from the brink ; 
Thou hear'st the village hammer clink, 

And seest the moving of the team. 

Sweet Hesper-Phosphor, double name 
For what is one, the first, the last, 
Thou, like my present and my past, 

Thy place is changed ; thou art the same. 



O, wast thou with me, dearest, then, 
While I rose up against my doom, 
And yearn'd to burst the folded gloom, 

To bare the eternal heavens again, 

To feel once more, in placid awe, 
The strong imagination roll 
A sphere of stars about my soul, 

In all her motion one with law ? 

If thou wert with me, and the grave 
Divide us not, be with me now, 
And enter in at breast and brow, 

Till all my blood, a fuller wave, 

Be quicken'd with a livelier breath, 
And like an inconsiderate boy, 
As in the former flash of joy, 

I slip the thoughts of life and death ; 

And all the breeze of Fancy blows, 
And every dewdrop paints a bow, 
The wizard lightnings deeply glow, 

And every thought breaks out a rose. 



There rolls the deep where grew the tree. 
O earth, what changes hast thou seen 
There where the long street roars hath been 

The stillness of the central sea. 

:n 'l 

The hills are shadows, and they flow 

From form to form, and nothing stands ; 
They melt like mist, the solid lands, 

Like clouds they shape themselves and go. 

But in my spirit will I dwell, 

And dream my dream, and hold it true ; 

For tho' my lips may breathe adieu, 
I cannot think the thing farewell. 



That which we dare invoke to bless j 

Our dearest faith ; our ghastliest doubt $ 
He, They, One, All ; within, without ; 

The Power in darkness whom we guess ; 

I found Him not in world or sun, 
Or eagle's wing, or insect's eye ; 
Nor thro' the questions men may try, 
*-.*?/ The petty cobwebs we have spun : 

If e'er when faith had fallen asleep, 

I heard a voice, ' Believe no more/ 
And heard an ever-breaking shore 

That tumbled in the Godless deep ; 

A warmth within the breast would melt t 
The freezing reason's colder part, I 
And like a man in wrath the heart Uu^' 

Stood up and answer'd, * I have felt/ 

No, like a child in doubt and fear : 

'" But that blind clamor made me wise 5 , 

Then was I as a child that cries, 
But, crying, knows his father near ; 

And what I am beheld again 

What is, and no man understands ; 

And out of darkness came the hands L^ 

That reach thro' nature, moulding men. 

r . 



Whatever I have said or sung, 

Some bitter notes my harp would give, 
Yea, tho' there often seem'd to live 

A contradiction on the tongue, 

\ Yet Hope had never lost her youth ; 

She did but look through dimmer eyes ; 
Or Love but play'd with gracious lies, 
Because he felt so fixt in truth : 

And if the song were full of care, 

He breathed the spirit of the song ; 
Atid if the words were sweet and strong, 

He set his royal signet there ; 

Abiding with me till I sail 

To seek thee on the mystic deeps, 
And this electric force, that keeps 

A thousand pulses dancing, fail. 



Love is and was my lord and king, 
And in his presence I attend 
To hear the tidings of my friend, 

Which every hour his couriers bring. 

Love is and was my king and lord, 
And will be, tho' as yet I keep 
Within his court on earth, and sleep 

Encompass'd by his faithful guard, 

And hear at times a sentinel 

Who moves about from place to place, 
And whispers to the worlds of space, 

In the deep night, that all is well. 



And all is well, tho' faith and form 
Be sunder'd in the night of fear ; 
Well roars the storm to those that hear 

A deeper voice across the storm,/ 

Proclaiming social truth shall spread, 
And justice, even tho' thrice again 
The red fool-fury of the Seine 

Should pile her barricades with dead. 

But ill for him that wears a crown, 
And him, the lazar, in his rags : 
They tremble, the sustaining crags ; 

The spires of ice are toppled down, 

And molten up, and roar in flood ; 

The fortress crashes from on high, 
The brute earth lightens to the sky, 

And the great yon sinks in blood, 

And compass'd bj the fires of hell ; 

While thou, dear spirit, happy star, 
O'erlook'st the tumult from afar, 

And smilest, knowing all is well. 



The love that rose on stronger wings, 
VUnpalsied when he met with Death^j 
Is comrade of the lesser faith 
That sees the course of human things. 

No doubt vast eddies in the flood 

Of onward time shall yet be made, 
And throned races may degrade ; 

Yet, O ye mysteries of good, 

Wild Hours that fly with Hope and Fear, 

If all your office had to do 

With old results that look like new 
If this were all your mission here, 

To draw, to sheathe a useless sword, 

To fool the crowd with glorious lies, 
To cleave a creed in sects and cries, 

To change the bearing of a word, 

To shift an arbitrary power, 

To cramp the student at his desk, 
To make old bareness picturesque 

And tuft with grass a feudal tower ; 


Why, then my scorn might well descend 
On you and yours. I see in part 
That all, as in some piece of art, 

Is toil cooperant to an end. 



Dear friend, far off, my lost desire, 

So far, so near in woe and weal ; 

O loved the most, when most I feel J 
There is a lower and a higher ; 

Known and unknown ; human, divine ; 

Sweet human hand and lips and eye ; 

Dear heavenly friend that canst not die, 
Mine, mine, for ever, ever mine ; 

Strange friend, past, present, and to be ; 
Loved deeplier, darklier understood j 
Behold, I dream a dream of good, 

And mingle all the world with thee. 



Thy voice is on the rolling air ; 

I hear thee where the waters run ; 

Thou standest in the rising sun, 
And in the setting thou art fair. 

Whal_ait thou then ? I ^cannot guess ; 
But tho' I seem in star and flower 
To feel^thee some diffusive power, 

I do not therefore love thee less. 

My love involves the love before ; 
My love is vaster passion now ; 
fTho' mixt with God and Nature thou, 

I seem to love thee more and more. 


Far off thou art, but ever nigh ; 

I have thee still, and I rejoice ; 

I prosper, circled with thy voice ; 
I shall not lose thee tho' I die. 



O living will that shalt endure 

When all that seems shall suffer shock 

Rise in the spiritual rock, 
Flow thro' our deeds and make them pure, 

That we may lift from out of dust 
A voice as unto him that hears, 
A cry above the conquered years 

To one that with us works, and trust, 

With faith that comes of self-control, 

The truths that never can be proved 
Until we close with all we loved, 

And all we flow from, soul in soul. 


O true and tried, so well and long, 

Demand not thou a marriage lay ; 
In that it is thy marriage day 

Is music more than any song. 

Nor have I felt so much of bliss 

Since first he told me that he loved 
A daughter of our house, nor proved 

Since that dark day a day like this ; 

* , 

Tho' I since then have number'd o'er 

Some thrice three years ; they went and came, 
Remade the blood and changed the frame, 
And yet is love not less, but more ; 

No longer caring to embalm 

In dying songs a dead regret, \ 
But like a statue solid-set, 
And moulded in colossal calm. 

Regret is dead, but love is more 

Than in the summers that are flown, 
, Forjjnyself withjhese have grown 

^ To something greater than before ; 


Which makes appear the songs I made 
As echoes out of weaker times, * 
As half but idle brawling rhymes, 

The sport of random sun and shade. 


But where is she, the bridal flower, 

That must be made a wife ere noon ? 
She enters, glowing like the moon 

Of Eden on its bridal bower : 

On me she bends her blissful eyes 

And then on thee ; they meet thy look 
And brighten like the star that shook 

Betwixt the palms of Paradise. 

O, when her life was yet in bud, 

He too foretold the perfect rose. 
For thee she grew, for thee she grows 

For ever, and as fair as good. 

And thou art worthy ; full of power ; 
As gentle ; liberal-minded, great, 
Consistent ; wearing all that weight 

Of learning lightly like a flower. 

But now set out : the noon is near, 

And I must give away the bride ; 

She fears not, or, with thee beside 
And me behind her, will not fear. 

For I that danced her on my knee, 

That watch'd ner on her nurse's arm, 

That shielded all her life from harm, 
At last must part with her to thee ; 

Now waiting to be made a wife, 

Her feet, my darling, on the dead ; 

Their pensive tablets round her head, 
And the most living words of life 


Breathed in her ear. The ring is on, 

The ' Wilt thou ? ' answer'd, and again 
The ' Wilt thou ? ' asked, till out of twain 
Her sweet ' I will ' has made you one. 


Now sign your names, which shall be read, 
Mute symbols of a joyful morn, 
By village eyes as yet unborn : 

The names are signed, and overhead 

Begins the clash and clang that tells' 
The joy to every wandering breeze ; 
The blind wall rocks, and on the trees 

The dead leaf trembles to the bells. 

O happy hour, and happier hours 

Await them. Many a merry face 
Salutes them maidens of the place, 
That pelt us in the porch with flowers. 

O happy hour, behold the bride 

With him to whom her hand I gave. 

They leave the porch, they pass the grave 
That has to-day its sunny side. 


To-day the grave is bright for me, 

For them the light of life increased, 
Who stay to share the morning feast, 
Who rest to-night beside the sea. 

Let all my genial spirits advance 

To meet and greet a whiter sun ; 
My drooping memory will not shun 

The foaming grape of eastern France. 


It circles round, and fancy plays, 

And hearts are warm'd and faces bloom, 
As drinking health to bride and groom 
We wish them store of happy days. 


Nor count me all to blame if I 
Conjecture of a stiller guest, 
Perchance, perchance, among the rest, 

And, tho' in silence, wishing joy. 


But they must go, the time draws on, 

And those white-favor 'd horses wait ; 
They rise, but linger ; it is late ; 

Farewell, we kiss, and they are gone. 

A shade falls on us like the dark 

From little cloudlets on the grass, 
But sweeps away as out we pass 
To range the woods, to roam the park, 


Discussing how their courtship grew, 
And talk of others that are wed, 
And how she look'd, and what he said, 

And back we come at fall of dew. 


Again the feast, the speech, the glee, 

The shade of ^passing thought, the wealth 
Of words and wit, the double health, 

The crowning' cup, the three-times-three, 


And last the dance ; till I retire : 

Dumb is that tower which spake so loud, 
And high in heaven tjie streaming cloud, 

And on the downs a rising fire. 

1 62 IN ME MORI AM. 


And rise, O moon, from yonder down, 
Till over down and over dale 
All night the shining vapor sail 

And pass the silent-lighted town, 

The white-faced halls, the glancing rills, 
And catch at every mountain head, 
And o'er the friths that branch and spread 

Their sleeping silver thro' the hills ; 


And touch with shade the bridal doors, 
With tender gloom the roof, the wall ; 
And breaking let the splendor fall 

To spangle all the happy shores 


By which they rest, and ocean sounds, 
And, star and system rolling past, 
A soul shall draw from out the vas 

And strike his being into bounds, 


And, moved through life of lower phase, 

Result in man, be born and think, 
And act and love, a closer link 

Betwixt us and the crowning race 

Of those that, eye to eye, shall look 

On knowledge ; under whose command 
Is Earth and Earth's, and in their hand 

Is Nature like an open book ; 

7 a 

No longer half-akin to brute, 

For all we thought and loved and did, 
And hoped, and suffer'd, is but seed 

Of what in them is flower and fruit ; 



Whereof the man, that with me trod 
This planet, was a noble type 
Appearing ereTKeTim'es were ripe, 
That friend of mine who lives in God, 


That God, which ever lives and loves, 
One God, one law, one element, 
And one far-off divine event, 
To which the whole creation moves. 



In Memoriam was first published in 1850. No changes were made 
in the second and third editions except the correction of two misprints. 
In the fourth edition (1851) the present 59th section (" O Sorrow, wilt 
thou live with me ? ") was added. The present 39th section (" Old 
warder of these buried bones," etc.) was added in the " Pocket-Volume 
Edition " of the Poems (1871). 

Arthur Henry Hallam, to whose memory the poem is a tribute, was 
the 'son of Henry Hallam, the historian, and was born in London, 
Feb. i, 1811. In 1818 he spent some months with his parents in Italy 
and Switzerland, where he became familiar with the French language, 
which he had already learned to read with ease. Latin he also learned 
to read with facility in little more than a year. When only eight or 
nine years old, he began to write tragedies which showed remarkable 
precocity for one so young. 

After a brief course in a preparatory school he was sent to Eton, 
where he remained till 1827. He did not distinguish himself as a clas- 
sical scholar, being more interested in English literature, especially the 
earlier dramatists. Of Shakespeare he was a diligent and enthusiastic 
student. Like Tennyson, he became for a time a devotee of Byron, 
but later was more given to Wordsworth and Shelley. 

At Eton he took an active part in the Debating Society, where he 
showed great power in argumentative discussion ; and during his last 
year in the school he began to write for the Eton Miscellany. 

After leaving Eton he spent eight months with his parents in Italy, 
where he mastered the language and the works of Dante and Petrarch. 
Art, even more than poetry, fascinated him, and "his eyes were fixed 
on the best pictures with silent intense delight." 

In October, 1828, he went to Trinity Colle^, Cambridge. There he 
soon became acquainted with the Tennysons, and thus began the ever- 
memorable friendship of which In Memoriam is the monument. Like 
his friends, he was the pupil of the Rev. William Whewell. The desul- 
tory nature of his acquirements forbade all hope of distinction in exam- 
inations, and he did not so much as attempt any Greek or Latin 
composition during his stay in the university. This was at first a 
disappointment to his father; but he gradually became reconciled to 
the evident bent of the young man's mind. Arthur paid no attention 
whatever, to mathematical studies, another circumstance which his 
father deplores. The truth is, his memory was very treacherous in 
retaining facts which did not interest him ; and besides, in the first year 

1 68 NOTES. 

of his residence at Cambridge, symptoms of disordered health began to 
show themselves. A too rapid determination of blood to the brain 
made him often incapable of mental fatigue. But his brilliant powers 
were soon recognized, and his college reputation was very high. In 
1831 he obtained the first prize for an English declamation on the con- 
duct of the Independent party during the Civil War. In consequence 
of this success, he was called upon to deliver an oration in the chapel 
before the Christmas vacation, and chose as a subject the influence of 
Italian upon English literature. He also gained a prize for an English 
essay on the philosophical writings of Cicero. 

With history, especially the history of thought, he was very familiar. 
His political opinions, though fluctuating, were always prompted by a 
strong sense of justice and a generous ardor for the oppressed. With 
the whole range of French literature he was almost as well acquainted 
as with that of England. 

He left Cambridge on taking his degree in January, 1832. He 
resided from that time with his father in London at 67 Wimpole Street, 
referred to in In Memoriam : 

" Dark house, by which once more I stand 
Here in the long unlovely street." 

Arthur used to say to his friends, " You know you will always find us 
at sixes and sevens." At the earnest desire of his father he applied 
himself vigorously to the study of law in the Inner Temple, entering in 
the month of October, 1832, the office of an eminent conveyancer, with 
whom he continued till his departure from England the next summer. 
During the early part of his college life, he wrote sundry poems, 
which were to have been printed with Tennyson's, but they -were with- 
held at the request of Mr. Hallam. Some of them were not published 
after his death, as they seemed to his father to be too personal in their 
character. As a whole, his poetry is not remarkable, though grace- 
ful and pleasing. A few lines addressed to his friend may serve to give 
an idea of it : 

" Alfred, I would that you beheld me now, 
Sitting beneath a mossy ivied wall, 
On a quaint bench which to that structure old 
Winds an accordant curve. Above my head 
Dilates inwneasurable a waste of leaves, 
Seeming received into the blue expanse 
That vaults this summer noon." 

The following sonnet was addressed to Tennyson's sister Emily (to 
whom he was betrothed at the time), when he began to teach her 
Italian : 1 

" Lady, I bid thee to a sunny dome, 

Ringing with echoes of Italian song ; 

Henceforth to thee these magic halls belong, 

And all the pleasant place is like a home. 

Hark, on the right, with full piano tone, 

Old Dante's voice encircles all the air ; 

Hark yet again, like flute-tones mingling rare, 

1 Mrs. Ritchie says that Emily was " scarcely seventeen " at the time of Arthur's 
death in 1833 ; but she was born on the 25th of October, 1811. 

NOTES. 169 

Comes the keen sweetness of Petrarca's moan. 
Pass thou the lintel freely ; without fear 
Feast on the music. I do better know thee 
Than to suspect this pleasure thou dost owe me 
Will wrong thy gentle spirit, or make less dear 
That element whence thou must draw thy life 
An English maiden and an English wife." 

Again he addresses her thus (cf. In Memoriam, Ixxxix.) : 

" Sometimes I dream thee leaning o'er 

The harp I used to love so well ; 
Again I tremble and adore 

The soul of its delicious swell ; 
Again the very air is dim 

With eddies of harmonious might, 
And all my brain and senses swim 

In a keen madness of delight." 

He now gave up writing poetry, but employed himself in translating 
from Dante, and in original work, including memoirs of Petrarch, Vol- 
taire* and Burke, prepared for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful 
Knowledge. Dr. John Brown, of Edinburgh, says that these lives are 
of rare merit, and show a striking insight into the deepest springs of 
human action. The following is Hallam's estimate of the character of 
Burke : " The mind of this great man may perhaps be taken as a repre- 
sentative of the general characteristics of th.e higher intellect. Its 
ground-work was solid, practical, and conversant with the details of 
business ; but upon this, and secured by this, arose a superstructure of 
imagination and rare sentiment. He saw little, because it was painful 
for him to see anything beyond the limits of the natural character. In 
all things, while he deeply reverenced principles, he chose to deal with 
the concrete rather than with abstractives. He studied men rather than 

From the latter part of his residence at Cambridge his spirits im- 
proved : he was animated, and even gay, when among his intimate 
friends. His health seemed to be better; the symptoms of deranged 
circulation no longer manifested themselves ; but an attack of inter- 
mittent fever in the spring of 1830 may perhaps have predisposed his 
constitution to the last fatal blow. 

His father tells the remainder of the sad story very briefly. Arthur 
accompanied him to Germany in the beginning of August. In return- 
ing to Vienna from Pesth, a wej: day probably gave rise to an intermit- 
tent fever with very slight symptoms, which were apparently subsiding 
when a sudden rush of blood to the head caused his death on the 1 5th 
of September, 1833. It appeared on examination that the cerebral 
vessels were weak, and that there was a lack of energy in the heart. 
In the usual chances of humanity a few more years would probably 
have been fatal. 

His " loved remains " were brought to England and interred on the 
3d of January, 1834, in Clevedon Church, Somersetshire, belonging to 
his maternal grandfather, Sir Abraham Elton. The place was selected 
by his father not only from its connection with the family, but also from 
its sequestered situation on a lone hill overlooking the Bristol Channel. 

170 NOTES. 

Of Arthur Hallam's essays, in the memorial volume published by his 
father, one of the most notable is the review of Tennyson's volume of 
1830, in the Englishman's Magazine for August, 1831. It is highly 
eulogistic, but critical withal. Tennyson is declared to be a true poet : 
" His ear has a fairy fineness ; there is a strange earnestness in his wor- 
ship of beauty, which throws a charm over his impassioned song more 
easily felt than described, and not to be escaped by those who have 
once felt it." Five distinctive merits of the poet's manner are noted : 
"first, his luxuriance of imagination, and, at the same time, his control 
over it ; second, his power of embodying himself in ideal characters ; 
third, his vivid, picturesque delineation of objects, and the peculiar skill 
with which he holds all of them fused in a medium of strong emotion ;~ 
fourthj the variety of his lyrical measures and exquisite modulation of 
words and cadences to the swell and fall of the feelings expressed ; and" 
fifth, the elevated habits of thought implied in these compositions, and 
imparting a mellow soberness of tone, more impressive than if the 
author had drawn up a set of opinions in verse, and sought to instruct 
the understanding rather than to communicate the love of beauty to 
the heart." 

In the elaborate essay Theodicaa Novissima young Hallam grapples 
with the great mystery of the origin of evil. This is probably the most 
remarkable of his writings, and shows considerable speculative acute- 
ness combined with fervent piety. The essay was evidently known to 
Tennyson, who quotes from it in The Palace of Art (see our Select 
Poems of Tennyson, p. 221. But upon the whole, his works were only a 
faint prophecy of what might have been, if we may accept the uniform 
testimony of his many gifted friends to the brilliancy of his genius. 

In the preface to the memorial volume mentioned above, his father 
says of him : 

" From the earlier years of this extraordinary young man, his prema- 
ture abilities are not more conspicuous than an almost faultless disposi- 
tion sustained by a more calm self-command than has often been 
witnessed in this season of life. The sweetness of temper which dis- 
tinguished his childhood became with the advance of manhood a habit- 
ual benevolence, and ultimately ripened into that exalted principle of 
benevolence towards God and man which animated and almost absorbed 
his soul during the latter period of his life. . . . He seemed to tread 
the earth as a spirit from some better world ; and in bowing to the 
mysterious Will which has in mercy removed him, perfected by so 
short a trial, and passing over the bridge which separates the seen from 
the unseen life in a moment, and as we may believe without a moment's 
pang, we must feel not only the bereavement of them to whom he was 
dear, but the loss which mankind have sustained by the withdrawing of 
such a light." 

Rev. Henry Alford, the late Dean of Canterbury, an intimate friend, 
thus addresses him in The School of the Heart : 

" Gentle soul, 

That ever moved among us in a veil 
Of heavenly lustre ; in whose presence thoughts 
Of common import shone with light divine, 


Whence we drew sweetness as from out a well 
Of honey pure and deep, thine early form 
Was not the investiture of daily men, 
But ihou didst wear a glory in thy look 
From inward converse with the spirit of love ; 
And thou hadst won in the first strife of youth 
Trophies that gladden 'd hope, and pointed on 
To days when we should stand and minister 
To the full triumphs of thy gather'd strength." 

Mr. W. E. Gladstone says : 

" The memory of Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly in 1833,' 
at the age of twenty-two, will doubtless live chiefly in connection with 
this volume [In Memoriam]. But he is well known to have been ' 
one who, if the term of his days had been prolonged, would have needed 
no aid from a friendly hand, would have built his (4jyn enduring monu- 
ment, and would have bequeathed to his country a name in all likeli- 
hood greater than that of his very distinguished father. The writer of 
this paper was more than half a century ago in a condition to say, 

" ' I mark'd him 

As a far Alp ; and loved to watch the sunrise 
Dawn on his ample brow. ' 

" There perhaps was no one among those who were blessed with his 
friendship nay, as we see, not even Mr. Tennyson who did not fee! 
at once bound closely to him by commanding affection, and left far be- 
hind by the rapid growth and rich development of his ever-searching 
mind ; by his 

" ' All-comprehensive tenderness, 
All-subtilizing intellect.' 

" It would be easy to show what, in the varied forms of human excel- 
lence, he might, had life been granted him, have accomplished ; much 
more difficult to point the finger and to say, ' This he never could have 
done.' Enough remains from among his early efforts to accredit what- 
ever mournful witness may now be borne of him. But what can be a 
nobler tribute than this, that for seventeen years after his death, a poet, 
fast rising towards the lofty summit of his art, found that young fading 
image the richest source of his inspiration, and of thoughts that gave 
him buoyancy for a flight such as he had not hitherto attained ? " 

Richard Monckton Milnes (Lord Houghton), in a small volume of 
poems published a few months after Arthur Hallam's death, has a dedi- 
cation to Henry Hallam, in which he pays the following tribute to 
Arthur's memory: 

" If I have ever entertained pleasurable anticipations connected with 
the publication of any production of my mind, they have owed not a 
little to the thought that I should thus be enabled to give, in my 
humble way, an open testimony to the affectionate admiration with 
which I regarded one whom I loved with the truth of early friendship, 
and you with a parent's passion. It has pleased that high Will to 
which we must submit everything, even our loves, to take him away, in 
whom the world has lost so much, and they who knew him so much 
more. We are deprived not only of a beloved friend, of a delightful 
companion, but of a most wise and influential counsellor in all the 

172 NOTES. 

serious concerns of existence, of an incomparable critic in all our lit- 
erary efforts, and of the example of one who was as much before us in 
everything else as he is now in the way of life. 

" I hold his kind words and earnest admonitions in the best part of my 
heart, I have his noble and tender letters by my side, and I feel secure 
from any charge of presumption in thus addressing you under the 
shield of his sacred memory." 

A lady, speaking of young Hallam after his death, said to Tennyson, 
" I think he was perfect." " And so he was," the poet replied, *' as near 
perfection as a mortal man can be." 

Of the many commentaries on In Memoriam no one seems to us more 
satisfactory, on the whole, than Prof. John F. Genung's Tennyson's In 
Memoriam ; its Purpose and its Structure (2d ed., Boston, 1884). Other 
valuable discussions of the poem are A Key to Lord Tennyson's In Me- 
morzam, by Rev. Alfred Gatty, D. D. (3d edition, London, 1885), for 
which the poet himself furnished some corrections and comments, 
which in this edition are printed in italics; Prolegomena to In Me- 
moriam, by Thomas Davidson (Boston, 1889); A Companion to In 
Memoriam, by Elizabeth R. Chapman (London, 1888); and Tennyson 
and In Memoriam, by Joseph Jacobs (London, 1892). See also the 
admirable study of the poem in Phases of Thought and Criticism, by 
Brother Azarias (Boston, 1892), pages 183-268. 

According to Professor Genung, the fundamental idea of the poem 
may be thus stated (page 70) : 


" All the achievements of thought which make In Memoriam so vic- 
torious a poem are simply this idea raised to a higher power, with its 
interpretation for life and history." 

The " framework " of the poem is tabulated by the same critic thus : 

Introtwrtors <S5tacje. i. xxvii. 




JFirst (Eaclf. xxvin. LXXVII. 




Seronfc <}JcU. LXXVIII. an. 




JCfjtrt Cgclt. av. cxxxi. 








NOTES. 173 

" According to the above table we are to find the thought of the 
poem developed in three cycles, preceded by an introductory stage. 
These cycles present, of course, very different lines of thought, which 
necessitate differences in arrangement. In all three, however, the pro- 
cedure is fundamentally the same. Each cycle is introduced by 
Christmas-tide. Then follows a series of poems (in the Third Cycle a 
single poem), in which the thought characteristic of the cycle is sug- 
gested in outline. Following this, each cycle introduces its character- 
istic season or anniversary, which season suggests the general spirit 
of the cycle. The leading thought of the cycle, having been thus sug- 
gested and introduced, is now followed out at length, in a series of 
poems which make up the principal bulk of the cycle. This presenta- 
tion of the thought is followed, in the first and second cycles, by the 
anniversary of the death, which in each case gives occasion to meet and 
dispose of a last difficulty opposed by the poet's mood to the full recep- 
tion of the thought, and thus makes the triumph of the cycle complete. 
In room of such a reminder of death, the third cycle closes its course 
of thought and that of the poem by a new springtide, whose suggestive- 
ness is obvious." 

When reading In Memoriam to Mr. Knowles, the poet said : " It is 
rather the cry of the whole human race than mine. In the poem alto- 
gether private grief swells out into thought of, and hope for, the whole 
world. It begins with a funeral and ends with a marriage begins 
with death and ends in promise of a new life a sort of Divine Com- 
edy, cheerful at the close. It is a very impersonal poem as well as 
personal. There is more about myself in Ulysses, which was written 
under the sense of loss and that all had gone ~~6y7but ti ia t still life must 
be fought out to the end. It was more written with the feeling of his 
loss upon me than many poems in In Memoriam. . . . It 's too hopeful, 
this poem, more than I am myself. . . . The general way of its being 
written was so queer that if there were a blank space I would put in a 
poem. ... I think of adding another to it, a speculative one, bringing 
out the thoughts of the Higher Pantheism, and showing that all the 
arguments are about as good on one side as the other, and thus throw 
man back more on the primitive impulses and feelings." 

The poet also explained to Mr. Knowles that there were " nine 
natural groups or divisions " in In Memoriam, as follows : from i. to 
viii. ; from ix. to xx. ; from xxi. to xxvii.; from xxviii. to xlix. ; from 1. 
to Iviii. ; from lix. to Ixxi. ; front Ixxii. to xcviii. ; from xcix. to ciii. ; and 
from civ. to cxxxi. 

PROLOGUE. The form of stanza adopted by Tennyson f or In Me* 
moriam had been used by Lord Herbert of Cherbury (brother of 
George Herbert), and by Ben Jonson in his Underwoods. Rossetti 
" claimed to have rediscovered the metre in 1844 " (Jacobs) ; but Tenny- 
son had already used it in two poems written in 1833, though not pub- 
lished until 1842 ("You ask me why" and " Love thou thy land "); 
and Jennings (Lord Tennyson, page 125) says: "We have excellent 
authority for saying that, as far as Tennyson knew then, he thought H 
had invented the metre." 

1/4 NOTES. 

Mr. J. C. Collins remarks that "some of Herbert's stanzas are so 
similar to In Memoriam that even a nice ear might excusably mistake 
one or two of them for the Laureate's " these, for instance : 

" These eyes again thine eyes shall see, 
These hands again thine hands enfold, 
And all chaste blessings can be told 
Shall with us everlasting be. 

" For if no use of sense remain 

When bodies once this life forsake, 
Or they could no delight partake, 
Why should they ever rise again? " 

And yet we may infer that Tennyson had not seen Herbert's volume, 
which is very rare and scarcely known even to critical students of early 
English poetry. 

Strong Son of God, immortal Love. " Immortal Love is recognized 
not only as an affection within us, but as an entity above us, ... as a 
divine Object of faith and love, to be worshipped and obeyed, to be 
recognized as at the same time the source and the goal of our noblest 
life." (Genung). 

George Herbert, as Gatty notes, addresses Christ as " Immortal 
Love, author of this great frame," etc. 

Davidson remarks : " The philosophic meaning of the poem is 
summed up in the prologue, written in 1849. This takes the form of 
an address or prayer to ' immortal Love,' the ' strong Son of God,' 
the author of all things in heaven and in earth, of life and of death, 
the source of that justice which makes life rational. Tennyson, like 
Dante, 1 holds that the efficient cause of the universe is love, and that 
life without love is worse than death. 2 Nor is the divine love which 
made and sustains the universe different in kind from human love. We 
may, therefore, trust the divine love for all that we should expect from 
the highest human love, and more. The universe will satisfy the 
three postulates of the reason. 

" (i.) It will be governed by a moral law far more perfect than any 
that can be expressed in human systems. 

" (2.) It will leave the human will free, even though reason may be 
unable to see how ; but that freedom will be secured only by conformity 
to the divine will. 

" (3.) It will make possible a conscious immortality for the indi- 
vidual. Our sense of justice demands this. 

" But all these things, the poet admits, are only postulates of reason, 
matters of faith, not objects of understanding or knowledge." 

1 " L'amor che muove il sole e 1'altre stelle," (Parad. last line). 

2 See xxvi. 3, 4. Compare Aristotle's words: "Without friends no one would 
choose to live, though he possessed all other good things" (Nik. Eth. viii. i); also 
Fichte's " Life is love ; and the whole form and force of life consist in love, and arise 
out of love "' (IVay to a Blessed Life, i.). This doctrine may be said to be fundamental 
in Aryan thought. The Veda tells us, speaking of creation : 

" Then first came Love upon it, the new spring 
Of mind yea, poets in their hearts discerned, 
Pondering, this bond between created things 
And uncreated." 

NOTES. 175 

I. i. 1 I held it trttth, with him who sings, etc. " It may be stated, on 

self to a higher life and a broader assertion of selfhood. It is still the 
same self trampling upon the narrower and lower experiences of life." 
Cf. Longfellow, The Ladder of St. Augustine. The passage of St. 
Augustine is in Serin, iii. : " De vitiis nostris scalam nobis facimus si 
vitia calcamus." Lowell also says : 

" 'Tis sorrow builds the shining ladder up, 
Whose golden rounds are our calamities, 

rer God 

Whereon our feet firm planting, neare 
The spirit climbs, and hath its eyes ui 

The dead selves of Tennyson are neither our vices nor our calamities, 
but rather " our general experiences, which all perish as they happen." 

3, 4. Ah, sweeter to be drunk with loss, etc. Better to give way to 
grief without restraint than to forget what we have lost and miss the 
" sweet uses of adversity." 

II. 3. O not for 77iee the glow, the bloom. Certain critics foolishly 
inferred from this that the poet was not aware the yew blossoms, and 
that section xxxix. was afterwards inserted to correct the error ; but as 
an italicized note in Gatty states, "of course the poet always knew that 
a tree which bears a berry must have a blossom ; but sorrow only saw 
the winter gloom of the foliage." The blossoming of the yew and the 
" smoke " of its abundant pollen, scattered by the wind, are referred to 
in the opening lines of The Holy Grail: 

" Beneath a world-old yew-tree, darkening half 
The cloisters, on a gustful April morn 
That puff'd the swaying branches into smoke 
Above them," etc. 

4. And gazing on thee, sullen tree. The first ed. misprints " the sul- 
len tree," 

III. I. What whispers from thy lying lip? Sorrow "clothes all 
nature in her own phantom hollowness, her own mourning garb ; she 
blurs the truth, and it may well be that she should be stifled rather than 
cherished" (Chapman). The lying lip, which some critics have re- 
garded as " too harsh," is repeated in xxxix. 3. 

3. With all the music in her tone. The first ed. has " her music in 
her tone." 

IV. 3. That grief hath shaken into frost. Water may be cooled 
below the freezing-point if it is kept perfectly still ; but if disturbed it 
becomes ice at once, and the sudden expansion may break the vessel 
containing it. 

4. Thou shalt not be the fool of loss. The first ed. misprints " Thou 
shall riot " 

V. I. I sometimes hold it half a sin, etc. "Oppressed by the poverty 
of language, by the trick of all human utterance to garble that which it 
would fain express, the poet hesitates to clothe his thoughts in verse. 

1 The references in these Notes are to sections (or " poems," as Tennyson calls 
them) and stanzas, not to lines. 

176 NOTES. 

But the exercise is sweet and soothing to him. He will continue to 
Seek solace from it, conscious of its imperfections " (Chapman). 

VI. I. That loss is common to the race. Cf. Hamlet, i. 2. 72 : 

" Thou know'st 't is common ; all that lives must die, 
Passing through nature to eternity." 

3. Who pledgest now thy gallant son. Drinking to his health in his 
absence from home. 

5. Ye know no more than /, etc. Tennyson was writing a letter to 
Arthur at the very time when his friend died. 

VII. i. The long unlovely street. Wimpole Street in London, where 
Arthur resided (see page 168 above) while he was studying at Lin- 
coln's Inn. There are many longer streets in the metropolis than 
Wimpole Street, which, even with its continuation as Devonshire Street, 
is barely half a mile from end to end ; but it somehow got a local noto- 
riety for its length. " It is said of a celebrated clerical wit, that almost 
his last words were, ' All things come to an end ' a pause ' except 
Wimpole Street' " (Gatty). 

VIII. 2. He saddens, all the magic light, etc. Light and delight form 
an " identical rhyme." So we find here and hear in xxxv. 2, and hours and 
ours in li. 4. In cv. i. the original rhyme of eave and eve has been 
removed in revising the stanza. Milton, Lowell, and a few other poets 
occasionally admit these rhymes of words identical in sound but differ- 
ing in sense, which are regularly used in Italian and some other lan- 

5. This poor flower of poesy. This poetic gift of mine. The passage 
was probably written when Tennyson's poetry was little cared for when 
only the volumes of 1830 and 1832 had been published. His friend 
(see page 170 above) had recognized its promise from the first. 

IX. i. Fair ship, that from the Italian shore, etc. Napier says: 
" Many have been the endeavors to discover the name of the ' fair 
ship' which brought home Hallam's remains, and thus trace her after- 
history, but all in vain. It seems, however, that she landed her pre- 
cious freight at Dover, though the poet till a few years ago always 
believed that she had put in to Bristol/' 

For the apostrophe to the ship, cf. Horace's ode (i. 3) to that which 
^ was to bring his friend Virgil home from Greece. 

/ 2. Ruffle thy mirror 1 d mast. The reflection of the mast in the water 
is ruffled, or disturbed, by the ship as she speeds on her way. 

3. Phosphor. The morning star. Cf. cxxi. 3. below. 

5. Till all my widow 1 d race be run. This line is repeated in xvii. 5 ; 
and More than my brothers are to me in Ixxix. i. 

X.i. I hear the bell struck in the night. The bell that marks the hours 
en shipboard. 

4. Or where the kneeling hamlet drains, etc. Or in the chancel of the 
church, where the villagers kneel to receive the sacramental cup. Cf. 
the allusion to burials in the chancel, in the I3th stanza of the epilogue: 

" Her feet, my darling, on the dead ; 
Their pensive tablets round her head." 

NOTES. 177 

5. Should toss with tangle and with shells. Tangle, or " oar-weed," 
Laminaria digitata, grows at extreme tide-limits, where its fronds rise 
and dip in the water. Cf. Plato, Republic, x. : " liketthe sea-god Glaucus, 
who, buffeted and insulted by the waves, sank clustered with shells and 
seaweed and stones " (uarpea re Kai <pi>Kia Kat ire'rpos). 

XL I. Calm is the morn, etc. As the poet explained to Dr. Gatty, 
fie scenery described " does not refer to Clevedon, but to some Lincoln- 
shire wold, from which the whole range from marsh to the sea was 

3. And lessening towers. Church towers diminished to the eye by dis- 
tance. Stopford Brooke, commenting on this stanza, says : ''That tar 
landscape to which Shelley or Wordsworth would have allotted twenty 
or thirty lines is done in four. This is Tennyson's concentrated manner, 
and the landscape grows all the larger from the previous description of 
the small space of ground on which he is standing. I do not say that it 
is better than the expansive landscapes of Shelley or Wordsworth, but 
it is done in a different way, and with its own distinct emotion." 

XII. i. Lo, as a dove wkcn up she springs, etc. A carrier dove, with 
her message fastened beneath her wings. 

2. Ttns mortal ark. The body, " our earthly house of this taberna- 
cle," (2 Cor. v. i.) from which he imagines the soul flying away to the 
ship that is bringing home the corpse of his ffiend. 

XIII. i. Tears of the widower, etc. "He is like the widower for- 
ever missing and forever weeping his Mate espoused saint.' As such a 
one between sleep and waking scarce believes his loved one dead, so 
the musing poet cannot always wholly realize his loss. He bids time 
and the vears teach him that it is real and not a melancholy dream " 

XIV. 5. I should not feel it to be strange. Gatty quotes Cowper's 
lines, written after losing his mother : 

" What ardently I wish'd I still believed, 
And, disappointed still, was still deceived." 

XV. I. To-night the winds begin to rise. The first ed. has " began to 

Stopford Brooke remarks here : "The tempest begins with what is 
close at hand the wood by which he stands at sunset: 

" The last red leaf is whirl'd away, 
The rooks are blown about the skies.* 

And then, after that last admirable line which fills the whole sky with 
the gale, he lifts his eyes, and we see with him the whole world below 
painted also in four lines [as in xi. 3.] the forest, the waters, the 
meadows, struck out, each in one word ; and the wildness of the wind 
and the width of the landscape given, as Turner would have given them, 
by the low shaft of storm-shaken sunlight dashed from the west right 
across to the east. Lastly, to heighten the impression of tempest, to show 
the power it will have when the night is come, to add a far horizon to 
the solemn world, he paints the rising wrath of the storm in the cloud 
above the ocean rim, all aflame with warlike sunset. It is well done, 


but whosoever reads the whole will feel that the storm of the human 
heart is higher than the storm of Nature." 

3. A plane of molten glass. Gatty quotes Job xxxviii. 18 : "as a molten 
looking-glass; " but " looking-glass " there should have been "mirror,' 1 
the reference being to the metallic mirrors of ancient times before the 
art of silvering glass was known. 

5. And onward drags a laboring breast. Cf. Marlowe, Dr. Faustus, 
sc. xvi. : "Into the entrails of yon laboring cloud;" and Milton, 
L' Allegro: 

" Mountains, on whose barren breast 
The laboring clouds do often rest." 

XVI. I. Calm despair and wild unrest. The former expressed in xi. 
the latter in xv. He asks whether such alternations of feeling are 
possible. " Is his sorrow variable ? Or do these changes affect the 
surface merely of his deep-seated grief ? Or, again, has his reason been 
unhinged by grief?" (Chapman). 

XVII. i. Compeird thy canvas. That is, impelled it; a Latinism. 

XVIII. i. The violet of his native land. Possibly suggested by Ham- 
let, v. i. 262: 

" And from her fair and unpolluted flesh 
May fliolets spring! " 

See also Persius, Sat. i. 39 : 

" Nunc non e tumulo fortunataque favilla 
Nascentur violae." 

3. Come then, pzire hands, and bear the head, etc. The bearers at 
the funeral of Arthur were the tenant farmers on the Clevedon estate. 
The Rev. William Newland Pedder, who was vicar of Clevedon for 
forty years and died in 1871, read the burial service. 

4. I, falling on his faithful heart, etc. Apparently suggested by 2 
Kings, iv. 34. 

XIX. I. They laid him by the pleasant shore. Clevedon Church, 
where Arthur was buried, overlooks a broad expanse 01 water, where 
the Severn flows into the Bristol Channel. 

4. My deeper anguish also falls, etc, As the>e tidal streams are silent 
when fullest, so his deepest grief is voiceless ; but when it ebbs at times 
he " can speak a little then." 

XX. i. The lesser griefs that may be said, etc. " Varying the image, 
he will compare the moods in which he can express his grief to the 
garrulous mourning of servants for a kind master newly dead. The 
children of the dead gaze mutely on the vacant chair; and so his 'othef 
griefs within,' the closer and more poignant griefs, are mute " (Chap:- 

XXL i. I sing to him that rests below. - The poet, who did not visit 
Clevedon until long alter the death of Arthur, seems to have supposed 
that he would be buried in the churchyard, where in this poem he im- 
agines himself to be standing. 

And make them pipes whereon to blow. Suggested by the ancient idea 
of pipes made from straw or reeds. Cf. Milton, Lycidas, 32 : 

NOTES. 179 

" Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, 
Temper'd to the oaten flute ; " 

and Id. 88: "And now my oat proceeds." See also Comus, 345: 
" Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops," etc. 

5. Her secret from the latest moon. Mr. Jacobs thinks that this must 
allude to the discovery of the satellite of Neptune in 1846, and that this 
part of this poem was therefore written very late ; but the reference to 
astronomical discoveries may be less specific. 

7. And one is glad, etc. The first ed. has "And unto one;" and 
the same, two lines below, instead of "And one is sad." 

XXII. i. Thro 1 four sweet years. From 1828, when he first became 
acquainted with Arthur at Cambridge ; the fifth autumnal slope, refer- 
ring to September, 1833, when his friend died. 

3. The Shadow fear'd of man. Death, which, in the next poem, keeps 
the keys of all the creeds because it will solve all questions concerning 
the world beyond the grave. 

Critics have complained that " the notion of a Shadow keeping keys 
.is a very halting metaphor ; " and Mr. Tainsh says that he cannot de- 
fend the figure, though he "nevertheless likes the line." It is a 
sufficient defence to remind the critics that the keys are as shadowy and 
insubstantial as the phantom who keeps them.^ 

XXIII. i. Breaking into song by Jits. Tennyson here furnishes 
Gatty with this note : " It is a fact that the poem was written at both 
various times and places through a course of years, and where the 
author happened to be, in Lincolnshire, London, Essex, Gloucestershire, 
Wales, anywhere, as the spirit moved him." This explains some things 
which have puzzled certain critics, who appear to have assumed that 
all the poems were written in the order in which they are now printed. 

6. And many an old philosophy, etc. Referring to their studies in 
.Greek philosophy, as the following lines do to their enjoyment of the old 

pastoral poetry. 

XXIV. i. The very source and fount of day, etc. Even the sun has 
spots on its surface. 

2. Since our first sun, etc. The first ed. has " Since Adam left his 
garden yet." 

3. And is it that the haze of grief , etc. Gatty compares Guinevere: 

" The moony vapor rolling round the King, 
Who seem d the phantom of a giant in it." 

The reading of the next line in x the first ed. was : " Hath stretch'd my 
former joy so great." 

4. And orb into the perfect star^ etc. As the earth on which we live 
would appear as a star if we could view it from the depths of space. 

XXV. i. / know that this was life, etc. Genung remarks: "The 
answer to this inquiry [in xxiv.] is also by implication an answer to the 
inquiry of poem xvi. The secret of the past glory, as also the secret of 
the present confusedness, is LOVE, which hallowed all intercourse with 
Arthur, and made every burden a joy. For between friend and friend 
burdens were halved by love. ' But one Thing is most Admirable,' says 
Bacon, ' which is, that this Communicating of a Mans Selfe to his 


Frend, works two contrarie Effects ; For it redoubleth loyes, and cut- 
let Griefes in Halfes. For there is no Man, that imparteth his loyes 
to his Frend, but he ioyeth the more; And no Man, that imparteth his 
Griefes to his Frend, but hee grieueth the lesse.' " 

The daily burden. The poet has burden here perhaps for the 
alliteration with day and daily but elsewhere burthen. 

XXVI. 3. O, if indeed that eye foresee, etc. " Better that he should 
die, than that love should perish and become indifference. Better deep 
feeling and passion, with all the pain that may come of them, than the 
calm of a sluggish, indifferent heart " (Davidson). 

4. Then might I find, etc. The first ed has " So might I find ; " and 
in the last line of the stanza, " To cloak me," etc. 

My proper scorn. Scorn of myself. For proper in the sense of mun, 
cf. The Princess, vi. 284 : " each to her proper hearth ; " and The Tem- 
pest, iii. 3. 60 : "Their proper selves," etc. 

XXVII. 4. I hold it true, whate'er befall, etc. " The memory of such 
a love, and its continued life in loss, is far better than any state wherein 
any trait of love its passion, or its purity, or its fidelity is absent,, 
even though the want of it brings rest. Such rest is ' want-begotten : * 
it betokens something less than true manhood. 

" I hid it true, whate'er befall ; 
I feel it, when I sorrow most ; 
'Tis better to have lovtd and lost 
Than never to have loved at all.' 

This and the preceding poem mark the first fulfilment of the desire 
expressed in the opening poem. 

" Here the Introductory Stage ends ; and two things, involved in these 
last two poems, may be regarded as its characteristic achievement, pre- 
paratory to the First Cycle : first, the desire and resolution to cherish 
the integrity of love in all time to come ; and, secondly, the thought 
that such love is an essential endowment of the holiest manhood, to he 
valued and cherished though its object be forever removed " (Genung). 

Cf. Congreve, Way of the World, ii. 2 : " 'T is better to have been left 
than never to have been loved." 

I feel it when I sorrow most. This and the two following lines are re- 
peated in Ixxxv. i. 

XXVIII. I. The time draws near the birth of Christ. The critics, as 
we shall see, have made sundry mistakes concerning the date of the 
three Christmases referred to in the poem. Gatty says here that this 
first Christmas is "possibly at the end of the year 1833;" but in a 
note on 'the "Last year" of xxx. 4 he says : "This Seems to identify 
the time to be Christmas, 1834, as H a " am died on I5th September, 
1833, and was buried in January, 1834." On the contrary, the "last 
year " must refer to the Christmas of 1832, when Arthur was living; 
and this Christmas must be that of 1833. 

Some, however, have been puzzled to reconcile this date with the 
preceding poem xxi., which, they say, implies that Arthur was buried 
before the Christmas of xxviii. xxx. But, as Tennyson himself has 
told us (see on xxiii. i above), the poem was written 'at various times 

NOTES. l8l 

and places ; and, in arranging the parts for publication, some were 
probably inserted before others that had been written earlier. If xxi. 
was written before xxviii., the poet, residing in a remote and secluded 
part of "Lincolnshire, might have taken it for granted that the remains 
of his friend had already reached Clevedon and been laid in their last 
resting-place, several months having elapsed since his death. What 
Mrs. Ritchie says of Somersby in the childhood of the poet was still 
true of it in 1833 : " It was so far away from the world, so behind- 
hand in its echoes (which must have come there softened through all 
manner of green and tranquil things, and, as it were, hushed into pas- 
toral silence), that though the early part of the century was stirring 
with the clang of legions, few of its rumors seem to have reached 
the children. They never heard, at the time, of the battle of Water- 
loo." In 1833, when railways were just beginning to be built, Som- 
ersby was farther from London than the remotest corner of the king- 
dom is now. 

2. Pour voices of four hamlets round, etc. These churches cannot be 
identified. As Gatty remarks, those in the neighborhood of Somersby 
probably have too small belfries to allow of change-ringing. The 
sounds may have been only in the poet's mind. 

3. Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,^t\.c.. The rhythm is like 
the chiming of bells. 

5. But they my troiibled spirit rule, etc. Davidson compares with this 
the effect of the Easter bells upon Faust, in bringing him back to hope 
and preventing suicide. See Goethe's Faust, i. 

Sorrow touched with joy. That is, joy born of hope. 

XXIX. 3. Make one wreath more for Use and Wont. "The Christmas 
garlands are but a mockery now, and if they are not banished from the 
house it is because old custom, too, is but a passing thing. The old 
traditions fade, like all things else in a world of change and loss. Why 
cheat them of their due before their time ? " (Chapman). 

XXX. 4. We sung. The sung is used for variety of expression after 
rang, but is changed to sang in the next two lines. 

XXXI. 4. The lips of that Evangelist. St. John, the only one who 
records the raising of Lazarus. 

XXXIII. i. O thou that after toil and storm, etc. " Regarding the re- 
lation of one who knows to one who beli'eves. Lazarus and Mary illus- 
trate two phases of Christian life: those whose ripened reason and 
spiritual insight make their view of unseen things approach the charac- 
ter of knowledge ; and those whose faith, without knowledge, supports 
itself by forms. Each life has a blessedness of its own ; and ' faith 
through form,' which produces practical good deeds, is not to be de- 
spised, even by the most advanced in spiritual things " (Genung). 

" Let those who have not such simplicity of trust, who deem perhaps 
that they have reached a higher standpoint, fought their wav to a purer 
creed, beware of troubling the Mary -spirits that they know. It may be 
that their faith, which has outgrown all form, is a subtle thing, but is it 
as fruitful of good works as the childlike faith of the Marys ? And let 
them beware lest, in a world of sin, it fail them in the hour of need " 

1 82 NOTES. 

XXXIV. i. My awn dim life should teach me this, etc. Life itself 
should teach us that life must be immortal. Otherwise all is but dust 
and ashes all the beauty of the world no more than the fantastic 
dream of a poet's wild imagination. 

XXXV. i. Yet if some voice that man could trust, etc. " Death seems 
by its appearance to teach the opposite ; and yet all the higher worth of 
love, all that makes it nobler than a satyr's mood, requires for its inter- 
pretation and integrity that this appearance of mortality be disregarded. 
' Love cannot tolerate the thought of its own end. " It announces itself 
as an eternal thing." The spontaneous forms it assumes in language 
put it outside all limitations of time. It takes us over into the field of 
absolute existence, and says: Here is native ground; I cannot die; if 
I perish I am no longer love, but misery. Love has but one symbol in 
language forever ; its logic is, there is no death' " (Genung). 

3. A^onian hills. The "everlasting hills." Cf. xcv. n below: 
"yEonian music." 

According to Mr. James Knowles (Nineteenth Century, January, 1893), 
the poet explains this stanza as referring to " the vastness of the future, 
the enormity of the ages to come after your little life would act against 
that love." 

4. The sound of that forgetful shore. For the peculiar use of for- 
getful, cf. Milton, P. L. ii. 74 : 

" Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench 
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still," etc. 

5. Love had not been, etc. Love would either not exist or would be 
of the lowest sensual type. 

XXXVI. i. Tho" 1 truths in manhood darkly join, etc. w What our 
holiest intuitions require finds its fitting expression in the revealed 
Word of God ; especially in the Word made flesh, who appeals to all, 
and expresses an inner idea which is too deep-seated for men unaided 
to utter, and yet which every one, even the most unlettered, may read " 

3. And so the Word had breath, etc. See I Timothy, iii. 16 and I 
John, 14. 

4. And those wild eyes that watch the wave, etc. The savage races 
of the Pacific Islands. 

XXXVII. I. Urania speaks with darkened brow, etc. " But how 
shall his muse dare to profane these holy mysteries ? She is of earth, 
and it is not for her to treat of things revealed. The song of human 
love and human loss alone is hers. These loftier themes belong to 
Urania, not Melpomene. Yet Arthur loved to speak of things divine 
and so the poet is fain to mingle some whisper of them in his singing ' 

3. / am not worthy even to speak. The first ed. has " but to speak.' 1 

5. And dear to me as sacred wine, etc. The first reading was " Anc 
dear as sacramental wine." Gatty suggests that the poet made the 
change " that the reader should see that he spoke only for himself," 
which the addition of " to me " makes clear. 

XXXVIII. 2. The blowing season. The season when "plants are 

NOTES. 183 

blossoming," as the poet seems to have found it necessary to explain to 

XXXIX. Added to the poem in 1871, See p. 167 above. " Some 
acute critics have quite failed to comprehend the poet's purpose in 
introducing it. Considered in its connection, however, and Jith its 
allusions resolved, it supplies a very important link in the thought. It 
alludes, as does the other inserted poem, to poem iii., together with ii., 
and adds another link in the same chain of references to sorrow and 
nature, by showing how the heart which sorrow has deadened into 
despair in the face of nature, is yet touched and cheered by the awak- * 
ing life of springtide " (Genung). 

XL. i. Could we forget, etc. The expression of a wish O that we 
could forget, etc. 

2. Make April of her tender eyes. Cf. Shakespeare, Antony and Cleo- 
patra, iii. 2. 43 : - ^ 

" The April 's in her eyes ; it is love's spring, ^- X 

And those the showers to bring it on." 

5. In those great offices that suit, etc. The first ed. reads "In such 
great offices as suit." Mr. Knowles quotes the poet as saying: "I hate 
that I should not write so now I'd almost rather sacrifice a mean- 
ing than let two s's come together." This occurs, however, in cxi. 2, 
where he might have written "fashion sake," as in Elizabethan English. 

XLI. 5. That I shall be thy mate no more, etc. The thought of 
Arthur's continued progress, with even his ethereal energies greatened, 
.in a strange and august state of being, rouses the fear that he will 
outstrip the earthly survivor, and so be always beyond reach " (Genung). 

6. The secular to-be. The ages of eternity. 

XLII. i. He still outstript me. Always outstript me. Cf. SJiake- 
speare, Tempest, i. 2. 229: "the still- vexed Bermoothes" (the ever-dis- 
turbed Bermudas), etc. 

XLIII. 3. So that still garden of the souls. The first ed. has " But" 
for So ; and " would last " for will last in the next stanza. 

4. At the spiritual prime. On the resurrection morning. 

XLIV. i. But he forgets the days, etc. That is, his earliest infancy, 
before the sutures of the skull had closed. Mr. B. Kellogg, in an 
American edition of selections from In Memoriam, strangely takes the 
allusion to be to extreme old age, the doorways of the head being "the 

2. A little flash, a mystic hint. Cf. The Two Voices : 

" Moreover, something is or seems, 
That touches me with mystic gleams, 
Like glimpses of forgotten dreams 

Of something felt, like something here, 
Of something done, I know not where, 
Such as no language can declare ; " 

Also Wordsworth's familiar, " Our birth is but asleep_and a forgetting ; " 
and Mrs. Browning's lines (evidently a rerrfiiiiscence~oT^Wordsworth) 
near the beginning of Aurora Leigh : 

1 84 NOTES. 

*' I have not so far left the coasts of life 
To travel inland, that I cannot hear 
The murmur of the outer Infinite, 
Which unweaned babies smile at in their sleep, 
When wondered at for smiling." 

3. If death so taste Lethean springs. Gatty says that " The poet here 
makes Lethe produce remembrance, instead of forgetfulness, which is 
its normal effect." Not so ; he merely suggests, as Wordsworth does 
in his famous Ode, that the forgetfulness is not absolutely complete. 

4. My guardian angel "will speak out, etc. Cf. Matt, xviii. 10. 

XLV. I. The baby new to earth and sky, etc. "The grand result of 
this earthly life, as it advances from infancy to maturity, is the develop- 
ment of self-conscious personality, and with it the possibility of memory. 
Unless we suppose all this life's highest achievement is lost, this self- 
conscious personality and memory continue in heaven" (Genung). 

XLV I. I. We ranging down this lower track, etc. "In this life we 
experience ' thorn and flower,' grief and joy ; and the past becomes 
mercifully shaded as time goes on, otherwise the retrospect would be 
intolerable. But hereafter all shadow on what has happened will be 
removed, and all will be clear ' from marge to marge ; ' and the five 
years of earthly friendship will be the ' richest field ' in the ' eternal 
landscape ' " (Gatty). 

4. Love a brooding star, etc. " As if Lord of the whole life " (Ten- 
nyson, as quoted by Knowles). 

XLVII. i. That each who seems a separate whole, etc. The theory 
that the individual being will, in another state of existence, be merged 
in " the general soul," is repudiated by the poet. " St. Paul is not more 
distinct and emphatic upon our individuality hereafter" (Gatty). 

4. Before the spirits fade away, etc. " Into the Universal Spirit 
but* at least one last parting, and would always want it again of 
course " (Tennyson quoted by Knowles). 

XLVIII. i. Jf these brief lays, etc. " The office of the song is not to 
give logically conclusive answers, but Love's answer, making doubts 
yield her service " (Genung). 

XLIX. i. From art, from nature, from the schools, etc. "Let no 
man think that the fancied hopes and fears with which he toys touch 
more than the surface of the mourner's grief. He hails every random 
influence that art, nature, philosophy, may shed upon that sullen sur- 
face, chequering and dimpling it, like shafts of light and tender breezes 
playing upon a pool. Beneath, in the depths, the very springs of life 
are tears " (Chapman). 

L.\4- To point the term of human strife, etc. To mark the end of 
this earthly life and the dawn of the eternal day. 

LI. i. Do we indeed desire the dead, etc. The dead, if near us, must 
see all our " inner vileness." But " they see as God sees, and make 
gracious allowance." 

LII. 3. The sinless years, etc. The life of Christ. 

4. Hath sunder 1 d shell from pearl. Has sifted the evil from the good. 

LIII. 2. This fancy. The first ed. has " this doctrine " ; in the next 
line " had not " for scarce had ; and, two lines below, " Oh ! " for Or. 

NOTES. 185 

The poet's comment on this stanza, as Mr. Knowles tells us, was 
" There 's a passionate heat of nature in a rake sometimes the nature 
that yields emotionally may come straighter than a prig's." He added, 
on the next two stanzas : " Yet don't you be making excuses for this 
kind of thing it 's unsafe. You must set a rule before youth. There 's 
need of rule to men also though no particular one that I know of 
it may be arbitrary." 

Davidson remarks : "Mephistopheles (Faust, Part i. 983) is made to 
say of himself, ' I am a part of that power that always wills the evil, 
and always does the good.' Tennyson, observing that many a man over- 
comes the heats, passions, and follies of youth, becomes ' a sober man 
among his boys,' and ' wears his manhood hale and green,' is tempted to 
adopt Goethe's view. He asks: Must the field of life be sown with 
' wild oats,' ere it be fit to produce useful grain ? At best it could be 
true only for those men who are strong enough to outlive the ' heats 
of youth,' not for those who succumb to them. But, even were it true 
for the first, it would be unwise to 

' preach it as a truth 
To those that eddy round and round,' 

that is, those who are still in the whirlpool of passion. We must not 
allow the difficulty which ' divine Philosophy ' finds in drawing a clear 
line between good and evil to mislead us into confounding them, or 
trifling with the distinction between them. All such confusion is pan- 
dering to ' the Lords of Hell.' " 

L1V. 5. An infant crying in the night. Cf. cxxiv. 5 : 

" Then was I as a child that cries, 
But, crying, knows his father near." 

LV. I. The wish, that of the living whole, etc. " Is not the desire for 
a future existence where the broken threads of this one may be taken 
up again, the thing that is most divine in us ? Yet how is it negatived 
by Nature at every turn ! She cares only for the type, not for the 
individual ; and the poet, beholding everywhere the cynicism and the 
callousness of her operations, falters and cries out tremblingly to that 
Power of Love behind Nature, faintly trusting the larger hope" 

Davidson remarks : " That the way to God is a steep stair is a familiar 
conception with all mystics, with Bernard, Bonaventura, Dante. Even 
M. Renan says : ' the path of Hhe universe is shrouded in darkness, but 
it goes toward God.' But grandly original is the thought that this stair 
is an ' altar-stair," and that the great world itself is an altar, upon which 
everything that lives, if it will save its life, must offer itself in sacrifice 
to God." 

LVI. i. ' So careful of the type ? But no, etc. Genung remarks : " It 
is worthy of notice that in an earlier work this same question of man's 
destiny has presented itself to the poet, and in the same manner has 
been left unanswered. At the close of The Vision of Sin, where discus- 
sion has been made concerning sin's ravages, whether avenged by sense, 
or also disintegrating the spirit, the lines occur : 

1 86 NOTES. 

" ' At last I heard a voice upon the slope 
Cry to the summit, " Is there any hope ? " 
To which an answer peal'd from that high land* 
But in a tongue no man could understand ; 
And on the glimmering limit far withdrawn 
God made Himself an awful rose of dawn.' 

In the poem under discussion, however, the thought is greatly ripened 
under the agency of Faith. From all deepest doubts suggested by 
Nature, she rises, and flees from Nature to God, in whose hands she 
tremblingly leaves the answer." 

6. That tare each other in their slime. Collins remarks that this is an 
excellent illustration of Tennyson's careful learning, though he may 
have had no notion of the singular propriety of the expression. " The 
slime is the Trporffrrj l\vs Horace's ' princeps limus ' (Od. i. 16. 13), the 
primeval mud out of which all things were formed at the beginning, 
when all was fluid and unconcocted." 

LVII. i. Peace; come away, etc. " Possibly addressed to his sister, 
whom he now calls away from the sad subject which his earthly song 
had treated" (Gatty). 

2. Methinks my friend is richly shrined, etc. Gatty gives (italicized) 
as the poet's comment : " The author speaks of these poems ' me- 
thinks I have built a rich shrine for my friend, but it will not last.' " 
Cf. Shakespeare, Sonnet xviii : " But thy eternal summer shall not fade," 

4. And ' Ave, Ave, Ave] said, etc. The funeral adjuration of the 
Romans. Cf. Catullus, ci. 10 : " atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque 
vale" Cf. Tennyson's lines suggested by these words of the Latin' 

" There beneath the Roman ruin where the purple flowers grow, 
Came that ' Ave atque Vale ' of the poet's hopeless woe, 
Tenderest of Roman poets nineteen hundred years ago." 

LVIII. 3. Abide a little longer here, etc. " That is, cling to the past 
with all its joys and sorrows a little longer, and then shalt thou be able 
to yield it up and accept the present in a mood nobler than that of mere 
blind resignation" (Davidson). 

LIX. This poem was added in the fourth ed., 1851. See p. 167 above. 

LXI. 2. How blanched with darkness must I grow ! Like plants 
growing in the dark. 

3. The soul of Shakespeare love thee more. " Perhaps he might if he 
*were a greater soul" (Tennyson, quoted by Knowles). 

LXII. i. Then be my love, etc. The first ed. has " So be my love," 

2. As one that once declined, etc. Cf. Hamlet, i. 5. 50 : 

" and to decline 

Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor 
To those of mine ! " 

LXIII. i. In its assumptions up to heaven. The word assumption is 
used as in its ecclesiastical application to the " taking up " of the Virgin 
to heaven. 

NOTES. 187 

LXV. I. Love 'j too precious to be lost, " It works its effect yonder 
as here, and the two friends, though separated, partake of the same 
hallowed remembrance. This thought may be regarded as the culmi- 
nating achievement of faith in this cycle " (Genung). 

LXVI. I. Yoti thought my heart too far diseased, etc. "In the first 
mood of grief (poem ii.), the mind was like the changeless yew-tree, 
a perpetual guardian of the dead. Now the bereaved has become 
spontaneously cheerful with all, and takes interest in affairs other than 
his own. Yet this cheerfulness is after all like that of the blind man, 
who has a dark world of his own, where he lives apart from others '' 

LXVII. i. I know that in thy place of rest, etc. That is, in Clevedon 
Church, where Arthur was buried. See p. 169 above. The church, 
which is dedicated to St. Andrew, is quaint and picturesque, though not 
architecturally noteworthy. The chancel was the original fishermen's 
church, to which additions have been made from time to time. It 
stands half a mile to the south of Clevedon, and is so secluded that 

" A stranger here 

Might wondering ask, ' Where stands the house of God ? ' 
She sought it o'er the fields, and found at last 
An old and lonely church, beside the sea, 
In a green hollow, 'twixt two headlands green." 

These heights, known as Church Hill and Wains Hill, seem to guard 
and shelter the edifice with its surrounding churchyard. 

4. And in the dark church, etc. The first ed. reads, "And in the 
chancel ; " but the tablet is not in the chancel of the church, as the 
elder Hallam stated in the memoir of his son, but on the west wall of 
the south transept, or the " manor aisle," as Napier calls it. When the 
moon is high in the heavens, it shines through the large south window 
upon the tablet, as the poet here imagines. 

The inscription on the tablet is as follows : 

To the Memory of 


of Trinity College, Cambridge, B. A., 

Eldest son of HENRY HALLAM, Esquire, 

and of JULIA MARIA his wife, 

Daughter of Sir ABRAHAM ELTON, Bart., 

of Clevedon Court, 

Who was snatched away by sudden death, 

at Vienna, on September isth, 1833, 

In the 23rd year of his age. 

And now in this obscure and solitary Church 

repose the mortal remains of 

one too early lost for public fame, 

but already conspicuous among his contemporaries 

for the brightness of his genius, 

the depth of his understanding, 

the nobleness of his disposition, 

the fervour of his piety, 

and the purity of his life. 


1 88 NOTES. 




LXVTII. i. Sleep, Death's twin-brother. Cf. Virgil, sEneid, vi. 278: 
Consanguineus Leti Sopor;" and Shelley, Queen Mab: "Death and 
his brother, Sleep." 

LXIX. I. I dream* d there would be Spring no more, etc. " With the 
single exception of Dante, no poet has made so many fine observations 
on the visions of sleep as Tennyson. Perhaps even finer are his obser- 
vations on these waking visions which he and, apparently, all persons of 
powerful imagination see, when they gaze fixedly into the dark. These 
visions are entirely beyond the control of the will. Accordingly, when 
the poet strives to paint the features of his friend upon the gloom 
among his waking visions (Ixx.) he finds he cannot" (Davidson). 

3. / met with scoffs, I met with scorns, etc. " I tried to make my grief 
into a crown of these poems but it is not to be taken too closely. 
To write verses about sorrow, grief, and death is to wear a crown of 
thorns which ought to be put by, as people say " (Tennyson, quoted by 
Knowles). The angel of the night in the next stanza was explained by 
the poet as "the divine Thing in the gloom." 

LXXI. I. We went thro"* summer France. In the summer of 1830. 
To this journey he alludes in the lines, In the Valley of Cauteretz, writ- 
ten in 1861 (though not printed until 1864), when he revisited the 
region : 

" All along the valley, stream that flashest white, 
Deepening thy voice with the deepening of the night, 
All along the valley, where thy waters flow, 
I walk'd with one I loved two and thirty years ago. 
All along the valley, while I walk'd to-day, 
The two and thirty years were a mist that rolls away ; 
For all along the valley, down thy rocky bed, 
Thy living voice to me was as the voice of tbe dead, 
And all along the valley, by rock and cave and tree, 
The voice of the dead was a living voice to me.'' 

One might infer from the "two and thirty" that the journey with 
Arthur was in 1829 instead of 1830, but the dates of both journeys are 
fixed by other evidence. Arthur Hugh Clough, who was in the Pyrenees 
in 1861 and met Tennyson there, refers to the poet's former visit as 
" thirty-one years ago." He doubtless got the information at the time 
from Tennyson himself. It is probable that the latter changed it in the 
verses for the sake of euphony. The line, " I walk'd with one I loved 
two and thirty years ago," would be seriously marred if "one" were 
substituted for "two." 

Mr. Waugh (pp. 43, 186) gives the dates of the journeys correctly as 
1830 and 1861, but (p. 186) refers to the former as "thirty-two years" 
before the latter. 

2. Then bring an opiate trebly strong, etc. The first ed. reads : " So 
bring an opiate treble-strong;" and in the last line -f the stanza: 
"That thus my pleasure might be whole." 

NOTES. 189 

LXXII. i. Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again, etc. The anniversary 
of Arthur's death, September 151!!. 

Blasts that blow the poplar white. By turning up the white under-side 
of the leaf. Cf. the description of the olive-trees in The Palace of 
Art : 

" With realms of upland, prodigal in oil, 
And hoary to the wind." 

3. And the daisy close Her crimson fringes. In Maud, on the othef 
hand, the maiden's tread opens these crimson fringes : 

" For her feet have touch'd the meadows, 
And left the daisies rosy." 

4. Along the hills, yet looked the same. The first reading was : " From 
hill to hill, etc. 

7. And hide thy shame beneath the ground. Gatty remarks : " We 
are reminded of Job's imprecation on his own birthday, ' Let the day 
perish on which I was born.' " 

LXXIII. 3. What fame is left for human deeds? etc. "After all, 
what is fame ? A mere shadow that, even at the best, lasts for a few 
years, but lays no hold on eternity. One can well afford to dispense 
with the short-lived subjective immortality of the Comtists, 1 mere 
fame to which its object is utterly insensible, provided he obtain objec- 
tive immortality, an ever-widening and deepening conscious life. 
What is even Shakespeare's fame compared with eternal bliss ? 
Dante, who was himself by no means free from the ' last infirmity of 
noble minds,' has expressed this with great force and truth, in words 
placed in the mouth of an enlightened soul in Purgatory : 

" ' The rumor of the world is but a breath 
Of wind, that now comes hence and now comes thence, 
And changes name, because it changes sides. 

' What fame wilt thou have more, if old thou shed 
From thee the flesh, than if thou hadst been dead 
Ere thou hadst ceased to babble " pap " and " mon," a 

' From hence a thousand years, which is a space 
More brief to the eternal than a wink 
Is to the circle that in heaven moves slowest? 

' Your fame is as the greenness of the grass, 
That comes and goes, and he discolors it 
Who made it issue tender from the earth.' * 

" Indifference to fame naturally follows from a firm belief in immor- 
tality. It is, therefore, peculiarly characteristic of sincere Christians. 
Among pagans, fame was reckoned as one of the noblest motives, as 
we see in the Homeric poems and the Edda. In the latter we find an 
excellent expression of the pagan feeling on the subject : ' Cattle die ; 
friends die ; a man himself dies ; but fame dies never to him that gets 
it well ' " (Davidson). 

i See Comte's Cat&chisme Positiviste, pp. 161 fol. where this immortality is de- 
scribed in a very amusing, not to say absurd, way. 
* " II pappo e il dindij' 1 childish words for bread and money. 
3 Purg. xi. 100-8, 115-7. 

1 90 NOTES. 

LXXV. 3. To stir a little dust of praise. For the figure, cf. The Two 
Voices : 

" I know that age to age succeeds, 
Blowing a noise of tongues and deeds, 
A dust of systems and of creeds : " 

and The Vision of Sin : 

" Fill the can, and fill the cup : 
All the windy ways of men 
Are but dust that rises up, 
And is lightly laid again.'' 

5. So here shall silence guard thy fame, etc. Gatty remarks : " One 
cannot bur. feel that, were it not for this immortal elegy, its subject 
would have been' long since forgotten, like other promising youths who 
died in their Spring." 

LXXVI. i. Are sharpened to a needle's end. Cf. Cymbeline, i. 3. 18 : 

" To look upon him till the diminution 
Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle." 

2. Before the mouldering of a yew. The yew attains to a great age, 
it least three or four hundred years. 

3. The matin songs, etc. The songs of the great early poets. 
LXXVII. i. What hope is here for modern rhyme, etc. "These 

riongs will die; nor do they count themselves lasting. But their use in 
the present is their sufficient justification. To sing of his sorrow and 
his love is sweeter to th^ poet than fame, is its own reward" 

LXXVIII. I. Again at Christmas, etc. Cf. xxx. above, and see note 
on xxviii. i. <^The present Christmas is probably that of 1834. 

Genung remarks: "The Christmas which introduces this Second 
Cycle [see page 172 above] is an occasion characterized by calmness. 
The lapse of time has brought a change in the spirit of its observance, 
in this respect, that the merriments and pleasures peculiar to Christ- 
mas are accepted and enjoyed no longer under querulous protest but 
for their own sake. At the same time, 'the quiet sense of something 
lost ' is a reminder that the occasion is not what it was before bereave- 

3. The mimic picture's breathing grace. That is, tableaux vivants. 
Hoodman-blind. Blindman's buff. Cf. Hamlet, iii. 4. 77 : " That 

thus hath cozen'd you at hoodman-blind." 

4. No mark of pain. The first ed. has " no type of pain." 
LXXIX. I. More than my brothers are to me. Cf. ix. 5, above. 
This poem is evidently addressed to Charles, the brother nearest his 

own age, and associated with him in the production of Poems by Two 

3. For us the same cold streamlet curPd. The brook near Somersby 
to which reference is made in the early Ode to Memory : 

" And chiefly from the brook that loves 
To purl o'er matted cress and ribbed sand, 


Or dimple in the dark of rushy coves, 
Drawing into his narrow earthen urn, 

In every elbow and turn, 
The filtered tribute of the rough woodland.' 1 

LXXX. 2. Then fancy shapes, as fancy can, etc. " If places were 
changed and he the mourner, I know that he would turn his sorrow into 
gain, by being stayed in peace with God and man. So let me do, and 
thus honor his influence" (Genung). 

LXXXIII. i. O sweet new-year, etc. "As in the preceding cycle 
Springtide added to the thought of immortality the suggestiveness of 
a new awaking season, so in this broader field of thought New Year 
heralds a new round of seasons. The spirit of the thought too has 
changed, has become more wholesome and free. Frozen in the past 
sorrow as the mind was in the preceding cycle, the Springtide must 
thrust its cheer from without on a reluctant mood ; but here the New 
Year illustrates the greater health of spirit, in that now the mood 
answers to the promise of the season, and goes forth congenially to 
meet it " (Genung). 

3. Laburnums, dropping-wells of fire. Cf. Cowper, Task, vi. : 

" Laburnum rich 
In streaming gold." 

LXXXIV. 3. When thou skouldst link thy life with one, etc. Refer- 
ring to Arthur's betrothal to the poet's sister Emily. See p. 168 above. 

Davidson remarks : " The picture of the life that might have been 
is drawn with infinite tenderness and warmth. The poet sees his friend 
daily growing in all the graces of manhood, * a central warmth diffusing 
bliss ' on all his kin, which would have included himself. He sees him 
a power for good in society and state, earning an honest, unsought fame 
among men, and the approval of God. He sees himself 'an honor'd 
guest,' walking by the side of his friend through all the phases of a 
noble life, rich in good, until at last 

" ' He that died in Holy Land 
Would reach us out the shining hand, 
And take us as a single soul.' " 

LXXXV. i. 'Tts better to have loved and lost, etc. Cf. xxvii. 4 

2. O true in word, and tried in deed, etc. This, as the poet explained 
to Gatty, is addressed to Prof? E. L. Lushington, like the epithalamiunv 
at the close of In Memoriam. 

The poet " recounts how when his sorrow fell he was kept from being 
unmanned by taking Arthur's life as an influence in all daily action, and 
how also his study of spiritual problems has been of practical good in 
diffusing the shock of grief; until, now that the friendship of which h& 
is the ' divided half ' has reached a permanence beyond fear of the rav- 
ages of time, he finds behind his grief a reserve of strength impelling 
and enabling him to seek what Arthur's pure spirit seems to bid, a 
friendship in the present, which in the healthful action of soul on soul 
may preserve his spiritual integrity. His heart therefore seeks the new 
friendship, which he protests may be as true, if not so fresh, as the 
other" (Genung). 


LXXXVI. i. Sweet after showers, etc. The four stanzas form a sin- 
gle sentence. Compare the early poem on The Poet for a fine passage 
similarly sustained. Tennyson told Knowles that this was one of the 
poems he liked. It was written at Bournemouth, and the "ambrosial 
air " was " the west wind," which in the last stanza, is represented as 
" rolling to the Eastern seas till it meets the evening star." In the third 
stanza, "the fancy" means "imagination the fancy no particular 

Slowly breathing bare The round of space. Clearing the sky from 

LXXXVIL i. The reverend walls. Of Trinity College, Cambridge. 

2. Their high-built organs. Not only lofty in themselves, but often 
also in their situation above the screen separating the choir from the 

The prophet blazoned on the panes. Referring to the stained glass 

4. That long walk of limes. In the grounds of Trinity College. 

6. Where once we held debate. Referring, as the poet told Mr. 
Knowles, to the " Water Club," so-called "because there was no wine.'* 
He added : " They used to make speeches I never did." 

10. The bar of Michael Angela. " Michael Angelo had a strong bar 
of bone over his eyes " (Tennyson to Gatty). This is hardly noticeable 
in the bust of Arthur, but it is strongly marked in the profile portraits 
of Michael Angelo. 

LXXXVIII. I. Wild bird, whose warble, liquid sweet. The night- 

The budded quicks. The hawthorn hedges. 

2. The darkening leaf. The first ed. has " the dusking leaf." 
LXXXIX. i. Witch-elm s that counter change the floor, etc. "The past 

is lived over again, and all its congenial occupations with Arthur, in the 
scenes of the former summer retreat. How fully peace is restored is 
well indicated by comparing the appearance of Nature in this poem 
with such poems as viii., xxiii., xxxviii." (Genung). The "summer 
,j retreat " is at Somersby. 

Towering sycamore. This tree is again alluded to in xcv. 14. " It is 
cut down, and the four poplars are gone, and the lawn is no longer a 
flat one " (Tennyson to Gatty). The poplars, not mentioned here, form 
a part of the Somersby scenery in the Ode to Memory : 

" Come from the woods that belt the gray hillside, 
The seven elms, the poplars four 
That stand beside my father's door," etc. 

3. Fresh from brawling courts. In London, where Arthur was 
then studying law. See. p. 168 above. In the next line the first ed. has 
" dusky purlieus." 

4. The landscape winking thro'' the heat. Nothing could be more 
^r pictorial than the winking. 

6. The Tuscan poets on the lawn. See p. 168 above. 
12. Before the crimson-circled star, etc. Before the planet Venus 
had sunk into the sea, where her father, the sun, had already disap- 

NOTES. 193 

peared. The allusion is not to mythology, but, as Tennyson told Gatty, 
to " La Place's theory," according to which the planet is " evolved from 
the sun." 

XC. i. He tasted love with half his mind, etc. "Emphatically and 
solemnly he repudiates the thought that, could the beloved dead return 
to us, after howsoever long an interval, after whatsoever changes in our 
lives and in our homes, their presence could be unwelcome to us. He 
who first uttered such a thought could have known little of love. Sud- 
denly, indignant remonstrance melts into a cry of longing" (Chapman). 

5. These and peace form a very imperfect rhyme. Cf. gaze and face in 
xxxii. 2, disease and peace in cvi. 7, etc. 

Confusion worse than death. Cf. The Lotos-Eaters , vi. : 

" Dear is the memory of our wedded lives, 
And dear the last embraces of our wives 
And their warm tears : but all hath suffer'd change : 
For surely now our household hearths are cold : 
Our sons inherit us : our looks are strange : 
And we should come like ghosts to trouble joy. 
Or else the island princes over-bold 
Have eat our substance, and the minstrel sings 
Before them of the ten years' war in Troy, 
And our great deeds, as half-forgotten things. 
Is there confusion in the little isle ? 
Let what is broken so remain. 
The Gods are hard to reconcile : 
'T is hard to settle order once again. 
There is confusion worse than death, 
Trouble on trouble, pain on pain, 
Long labor unto aged breath, 
Sore task to hearts worn out by many wars 
And eyes grown dim with gazing on the pilot-stars." 

XCI. I. The sea-blue bird of March. The kingfisher, as the poet hinv 
self explained. Gatty quotes, as a parallel passage : 

" The fields made golden with the flower of March, 
Tiie throstle singing in the feather'd larch, 
And down the river, like a flame of blue, 
Keen as an arrow flies the water-king." 

XCII. 4. And such refraction of events, etc. An allusion to the effect 
of atmospheric refraction in making objects appear above the horizon 
when they are actually below it. Cf. Coleridge, Death of Wallenstein, 

v. I : 

" As the sun, 

Ere it is risen, sometimes paints its image 
In the atmosphere, so often do the spirits 
Of great events stride on before the events, 
And in to-day already walks to-morrow." 

Davidson remarks here : " In a biographical sketch of Henry Fitz- 
maurice Hallam, who, like his brother, died young, a sketch written 
by Sir Henry Sumner Maine and Franklin Lushington and prefixed to 
the brother's Remains, we find this curious passage: ' He was con- 
scious nearly to the last, and met his early death (of which his presenti- 
ments for several years had been frequent and very singular) with 
calmness and fortitude ' (p. Ivi.)." 


Ghost may feel that thine is near. Cf. Aylmer's Field: 

" Star to star vibrates light : may soul to soul 
Strike thro' a finer element of her own?" 

See also the illustrations of the same mysterious sympathy of souls 
widely sundered in Enoch Arden a sympathy used by other writers 
with similar effect, as by Hawthorne in The Marble Faun, Miss 
Bronte in Jane Eyre, etc. 

XCIV. 3. They haunt the silence of the breast, etc. " I figure myself 
in this rather " (Tennyson, quoted by Knowles). 

XCV. Another family scene at Somersby. 

2. The fluttering urn. The epithet is very descriptive. 

3. The filmy shapes, etc. Night-moths (Arctica menthrasti), as Ten- 
nyson explained to Gatty. 

4. Laid their dark arms about the field. The shadows of their 

9. The living soul. " Perchance the Deity. The first reading [in 
first ed.] was, ' His living soul ' but my conscience was troubled by 
'his.' I've often had a strange feeling of being wound and wrapped in 
the Great Soul " (Tennyson, quoted by Knowles). In the next line, the 
first ed. had : " And mine in his was wound," etc. 

II. sEonian music. Cf. xxxv. 3 above. 

At length my trance, etc. Davidson remarks : " That these lines 
record an actual experience there can be no doubt. The poet tells us 
that he was in a trance. Lest this assertion should be regarded as a 
mere poetic phrase, it may be well to say that Tennyson from very early 
life has been subject to trances. In proof of this, I am allowed to 
quote from a letter written by him in 1874 to a gentleman in this 
country, who had sent him an essay on certain remarkable mental 
effects of anaesthetics. He says : ' I have never had any revelations 
through anaesthetics ; but a kind of " waking trance " (this for lack of a 
better word) I have frequently had quite up from boyhood when I have 
been all alone. This has often come upon me through repeating my 
own name to myself silently, till all at once as it were out of the inten- 
sity of the consciousness of individuality the individuality itself seemed 
to dissolve and fade away into boundless being and this not a con- 
fused state but the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the surest, 
utterly beyond words where death was an almost laughable impossi- 
bility the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction but 
the only true life. 

" ' I am ashamed of my feeble description. Have I not said the state 
is utterly beyond words? But in a moment when I come back to my 
normal state of " sanity " I am ready to fight for mein liebes Ich, and 
hold that it will last for aeons of aeons.' 

" In his trance, the poet ' came on that which is ' (rb forces &>), the 
ultimate reality, and from that point of view was able to see this world 
as a perfect harmony, in which even Chance and Death were necessary 
and concordant elements." 

Mr. Davidson proceeds to give illustrations of these trances, not only 
among Christians, but from Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, and other 

NOTES. 195 

ancient writers. That they are also "akin to the deepest poetic in- 
sight " he shows by quotations from Dante, Goethe, and Wordsworth. 
He adds : " It has seemed necessary to dwell at some length on this 
matter of ecstasy, because it is, in a sense, the kernel of the whole 
poem, which everywhere teaches us that knowing is not the highert 
faculty of the soul, but that above it is another, which alone can give 
us the truths necessary for rational life. This is the faculty of faith, 
whose form is justice, and which, when at its highest, sees justice or 
harmony everywhere. It has been shown that an ecstatic vision of the 
absolute harmony has been claimed by some of the purest and noblest 
of human kind. The question remains : What is the value of such 
visions ? Seeing that they leave behind them no clear knowledge, but 
only certain blessed feelings that seek expression in symbols or myths, 
often strange and fanciful, like St. Francis' six-winged seraph, what con- 
fidence can the understanding place in such symbols ? Can they be 
fairly interpreted so as to be a guide and stay to human life ? Every 
soul, it seems, must answer this question for itself, no matter whether 
it has had the experience itself, or only learnt of it from others. Tenny- 
son at first could not place full confidence in his vision. It 

" ' Was cancel'd, stricken thro' with doubt.' 

Morning found him a skeptic." 

XCVI. i. Sweet-hearted, you, whose light-blue eyes, etc. Perhaps one 
of his sisters 

2. One indeed I knew, etc. Gatty assumes that this refers to Arthur, 
and Tennyson tacitly endorses the supposition. Genung remarks : 
" It is generally supposed that this poem narrates the spiritual experi- 
ence of Arthur Hallam himself. . . . The passage where Tennyson 
recognizes in Arthur 

" ' The faith, the vigor, bold to dwell 
On doubts that drive the coward back,' 

and the one where he describes Arthur's as a character of 

" ' Seraphic intellect and force 

To seize and throw the doubts of man,' 

would seem to indicate much more calmness of assured strength than 
the poem before us ; but at the same time, this calmness may have been 
reached through severe struggle. Would not this passage, from Arthur 
Hallam's Remains, indicate such spiritual conflict ? 

" ' I do but mock me with these questionings. 
Dark, dark, yea, " irrecoverably dark," 
Is the soul's eye : yet how it strives and battles 
Thorough th' impenetrable gloom to fix 
That master light, the secret truth of things, 
Which is the body of the infinite God ! ' 

One of Arthur's early friends also writes : ' Perhaps I ought to mention 
that when I first knew him he was subject to occasional fits of mental 
depression, which gradually grew fewer and fainter, and had at length. 

196 NOTES. 

I thought, disappeared, or merged in a peaceful Christian faith. I have 
witnessed the same in other ardent and adventurous minds, and have 
always looked upon them as the symptom, indeed, of an imperfect moral 
state", but one to which the finest spirits, during the process of their 
purification, are most subject.' " 

3. There lives more faith in honest doubt, etc. Cf. Hume, Dialogues 
concerning Natural Religion, part xii. : " To be a philosophical skeptic 
is in a man of letters the first step to becoming a sound believing 

6. As over Sinai's peaks of old, etc. See Exodus, xxxii. 1-4. 

XCVII. i. My love has talk'd^ with rocks and trees, etc. Gatty re- 
marks that " this is highly mystical," and he appears not to have ex- 
plained it correctly at first. A note of the poet's informs him that it is 
intended to describe " the relation of one on earth to one in the other 
and higher world not the author's relation to him here. He certainly 
looked up to the author, fully as much as the author to him." 

XCVIII. i. You leave us, etc. Addressed to his brother Charles, 
who, on his wedding tour in 1836, was to visit Vienna. 

6. Any mother town. Any metropolis. The poet was fond of trans- 
lating a classical term into the vernacular. Compare "the tortoise 
\testudo\ creeping to the wall," in the Dream of fair Women ; " the 
northern morn" (aurora borealis) in Morte d' 1 Arthur, etc. In The 
Princess, i. in, we have "mother-city" for metropolis. 

7. When all is gay with lamps, etc. On the Prater, the great park at 

XCIX. I. Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again, etc. Another return of 
the anniversary of Arthur's death. See on Ixxii. i, above. 

C. r. I climb the hill. The first ed. reads : " I wake, I rise." 

CI. I. Unwatch'd, the garden bough shall sway, etc. The poet's 
farewell to Somersby. The date has been often given as 1835, but it 
was in the spring of 1837. In a letter of Tennyson's to Monckton 
Milnes, dated Jan. 10, 1837, he writes from Somersby : "As I and all 
my people are going to leave this place very shortly, never to return, I 
have much upon my hands." Writers have been led astray by assum- 
ing that the three Christmases of the poem were in three successive / 
years. The third Christmas was not in 1835, but in 1837. 

3. The Lesser Wain. The constellation Ursa Minor, the polar star 
being at the end of the tail. 

6. Lops the glades. Trims the thickets. 

CII. 2. Two spirits of a diverse love. As the poet explained to 
Gatty, these do not represent persons : " the first is the love of the 
native place ; the second, the same love enhanced by the memory of 
the friend." 

"The pleasant thought of the poet's own childhood and the sad 
thought of his later bereavement, which rise alike from the contempla- 
tion of the old home, strive together like ' two spirits of a diverse love,' 
until they mingle at last into one picture, in which he seems to view 
both from afar ; and thus his agitation passes into tender melancholy " 

CI1I. i. I dream* d a vision of the dead. An intimate friend of the 

NOTES. 197 

poet says that this was a real dream. Tennyson furnished Gatty with 
this note : " I rather believe that the maidens are the Muses, Arts, etc. 
Everything that made life beautiful here, we may hope may pass on 
with us beyond the grave." 

To Mr. Knowles he said that the maidens are "all the human 
powers and talents that do not pass with life but go along with it." 
The river is "life," and the hidden summits are "the high the divine 
the origin of life." The sea in the fourth stanza is " eternity." The 
seventh stanza refers to " the great progress of the age, as well as the 
opening of another world ; " and the ninth to " all the great hopes of 
science and men." 

8. The thews of Anakim. Cf. Deiiteronomy. ii. 10. 

12. / did them wrong. "He was wrong to drop his earthly hopes 
and powers they will be still of use to him " (Tennyson, quoted by 

CIV. I. The time draws near the birth o) 
1837. See on ci. i, above. The poet' 
from Somersby to High Beech in Epping 
mansion, known as Beech Hill House, has since been torn down and 
rebuilt. It stood on high ground, from which there is a fine view of 
Waltham Abbey, about two and a half miles distant, which is the 
church below the hill, as the poet himself explained to Gatty. 

Genung remarks here : " To the Cycle of the Past and the Cycle of 
the Present is now added ' the closing cycle rich in good,' the Cycle 
of the Future. Besides its advance in time, we notice also, as in the 
preceding cycle, an advance in breadth ; and the future of which this 
cycle sings, no longer confined to a single new friendship or a narrow 
circle, takes in the whole race of merr, as the poet sees it raised and 
ennobled by the same love which has hitherto wrought him such good. 
He sees it as the ' crowning race,' greatened by all the achievements of 
the ages, and is content to have wrought in sorrow for their upbuilding: 

" ' For all we thought and loved and did, 
And hoped, and suffer d, is but seed 
Of what in them is flower and fruit.' " 

CV. I. To-night ungather'd let us leave, etc. The first ed. reads: 

" This holly by the cottage-eave, 
To-night, ungather'd, shall it stand." 

Genung remarks here : " in the second Christmas-tide the lapse of 
time had made Christmas observances pleasant for their own sake ; 
now the ' change of place, like growth of time,' has wrought to cause 
the interest of the usual customs to die ; as was indeed predicted at the 
first Christmas-tide. But in this dying of use and wont after they have 
been once revived there is no sign of retrogression in the thought ; 
rather, the usual customs have lost their life because the spirit of 
Christmas hope has become so settled and significant that the ancient 
form can no more express its meaning. The cheer of this season not 
only eclipses the grief, but rejects all formal demonstrations of joy as 
' unnecessary and meaningless." 

198 NOTES. 


Has broke the lend of dying use. Cf. xxix. 3, above. 
IVhat lightens in the lucid east, etc. The poet explained to Gatty 
:hat this "refers to the scintillation of the stars rising." 

CVI. i. Ring out, wild bells, to the -wild sky, etc. " When the mid- 
light bells strike up, the poet breaks forth into a song, exhorting them 
o ring out the old epoch, with all its sin, its strife, and its suffering, and 
-ing in the better time. In this noble song we have a foretaste, of that 
ierce arraignment of the life of the present day which characterizes 
some of the poet's later productions. Deeply religious by nature, like 
his friend Carlyle, he cannot reconcile himself to a life which, having no 
eye for the spiritual world, and no ear for the thunders of Sinai, takes a 
golden calf for its God, and political economy for its moral law. And 
yet that is the life which the great majority of mankind in our day lead. 
No wonder that he cries out, 

" ' Ring out the darkness of the land ; 
Ring in the Christ that is to be.' 

Before we can ever again heartily celebrate Christmas, we must have a 
new Christ. The old one is dead, leaving the festival but an empty 
form. Rather than be guilty of the hypocrisy of adhering to it, he will 
celebrate (cvii.) the birthday of his glorified friend, that living ideal, 
which fills his soul with aspiration after all good" (Davidson). 

CVII. i. // is the day when he was born. The ist of February. 
Genung remarks: "In the first cycle, Springtide brought the cheer of a 
new season : in the second, New Year heralded a new round of seasons ; 
and now this'characterizing occasion of the third cycle suggests a new 
life, a noble life, which, having been lived once, may furnish the model for 
noble lives to come. The present anniversary illustrates, as has already 
been intimated in the Christmas-tide, how in this cycle the spirit of hope 
has overcome. In the first cycle the suggestiveness of the blooming sea- 
son must make its way from without into a reluctant mood ; in the second 
cycle the calmer mood and the promising season answer spontaneously 
to each other ; but here in the closing cycle the hopeful mood has so 
overcome the influences of season and weather that even the bitter 
wintry day can have no disturbing effect on the confirmed cheer 
within, the mind's peace is sufficient to itself, and not dependent." 

3. All the brakes and thorns. The brakes, as Tennyson explained, 
are "bushes." Cf. Shakespeare, Midsummer-Nights Dream, iii. i.: 
" This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn brake our tiring- 
house." The word, as here, oftener means a cluster of bushes than a 
single bush. 

4. The drifts that pass, etc. Gatty says that this '' must allude to 
drifts of snow, which, falling into waters, immediately blacken before 
they dissolve." The poet seems to have overlooked this explanation, as 
he makes no comment upon it. We have no doubt that the reference 
is to drifting clouds. 

CVIII. i. I will not shut me from my kind, etc. " More and more 
convinced is he that, if sorrow is indeed to bear the peaceable fruits of 
righteousness in him, he must no longer brood over it in solitude. In 
lonely musings the Solitary is too apt to see himself reflected whereso- 

NOTES. 199 

ever he turns his eyes. His own image is shadowed on the very 
heights of heaven to which he yearns, and, pondering on the grave, he 
does but read his own thoughts into the mysteries of death. Only 
among our kind, in human sympathy and human fellowship and 
human striving, can sorrow turn to profit " (Chapman). 

4. ^Tis held that sorrow makes us wise. Repeated in cxiii. i. V/ 
CIX. 4. The blind hysterics of the Celt. Cf. cxxvii. 2, below: "The 
red fool-fury of the Seine ; " and The Princess, epil. : 

" But yonder, whiff ! there comes a sudden heat, 
The gravest citizen seems to lose his head, 
The king is scared, the soldier will not fight, 
The little boys begin to shoot and stab, 
A kingdom topples over with a shriek 
Like an old woman, and down rolls the world 
In mock heroics stranger than our own ; 
Revolts, republics, revolutions, most 
No graver than a schoolboys' barring out ; 
Too comic for the solemn things they are, 
Too solemn for the comic touches in them, 
Like our wild Princess with as wise a dream 
As some of theirs God bless the narrow seas! 
I wish they were a whole Atlantic broad." 

CX. I. The men of rathe and riper years. Rathe, of which rather 
is the comparative, means early. The poet uses it again, adverbially, in 
Lancelot and Elaine: "Till rathe she rose." Compare Milton, Lyctdas, 
142 : " Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies." For an instance 
of the word in recent prose, see J. A. Symonds's /Sketches and Studies 
in Southern Europe (Essay on " Rimini"): " Whether it be the rathe 
loveliness of an art still immature, or the beauty of an art in its wane," 

2. His double tongiie. The first ed. has " treble tongue ; " and in 4, 
below, " dearest " for nearest. 

5. Nor mine the sweetness. The first reading was " Not mine," etc. 
CXI. i. To him who grasps, etc. Originally, " To who may grasp," 


4. Best seem'd the thing he was. The first ed. has : " So wore his 
outward best." 

6. The grand old name of gentleman. Gatty quotes Sir Thomas 
Browne, Christian Morals : " The true heroic English gentleman hath 
no peer." 

CXII. 2. The lesser lords ^of doom. "Those that have free will but 
less intellect " (Tennyson's note to Gatty). 

CXIII. i. 'Tts held that sorrow makes us wise. Cf. cviii. 4, above. 

3. A life in civic action warm. The first ed. has in, but some of the 
later ones have " of " perhaps a misprint. 

5. With thousand shocks. The first ed. has " With many shocks." 
CXIV. i. Who loves not Knowledge? Davidson remarks here: 

" No one, the poet admits, would think of disparaging Knowledge, of 
railing against her beauty, or of setting limits to her progress in any 
region where she is fitted to go. But, in her revolt against Faith, she 
is like a vain, wanton boy that has just escaped from his mother's 
apron-string. She rushes heedlessly on 

200 NO TES. 

" ' And leaps into the future chance, 
Submitting all things to desire.' 

And so, to quote from Mrs. Browning's description of the French 
[Aurora Leigh, vi.] the votaries of Knowledge 

" ' threaten conflagration to the world, 
And rush with most unscrupulous logic on 
Impossible practice.' 

This must not be. Knowledge must learn her place, learn that 
" ' She is the second, not the first.' 

She cannot attain any of those truths that give value and meaning to 
life , hence, unless life is to lose its aim, she, who is the child of 
the mind only, must consent to be guided by Wisdom, the child of the 
whole soul. Higher and truer than any clear conclusion which the 
understanding can draw from the physical facts of Nature is the dim, 
half-formulated conclusion which the soul draws in response to.its total 
experience, physical and spiritual. And the poet, addressing his friend, 
prays : 

" ' I would the great world grew like thee, 

Who grewest not alone in power 

And knowledge, but by year and hour 
In reverence and in charity.' " 

Cf. Locksley Hall: "Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers;" and 
Love and Duty : 

" Wait, and Love himself will bring 
The drooping flowers of knowledge changed to fruit 
Of wisdom." 

See also Cowper, Task, vi. : 

" Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one, 
Have ofttimes no connection : knowledge dwells 
In heads replete with thoughts of other men ; 
Wisdom in minds attentive to their own. 
Knowledge, a rude, unprofitable mass, 
The mere materials with which Wisdom builds, 
Till smooth'd, and squared, and fitted to its place, 
Does but encumber when it should enrich. 
Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much ; 
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more." 

7. But by year and hour. The first ed. reads : " but from hour to 

CXV. i. Now fades the last long streak of snow, etc. "The last 
note of time in the poem. Standing immediately after those poems in 
which is defined, in terms of Arthur's character, the greatness which the 
world needs, it adds to them the suggestiveness of the budding year. 
The special object of this Springtide seems to be to indicate the perma- 
nent mood in which the foregoing thought has left the poet ; and thus 
it corresponds to the groups of poerns, Ixvi.-lxxi., in the first cycle, and 
xcvi.-xcviii., in the second cycle. It also introduces the final applica- 

NOTES. 201 

tion and conclusion of the whole thought; and so with Springtide the 
poem leaves us passing on into a new era of hope " (Genung). 

Every maze of quick. See on Ixxxviii. i, above. For burgeons (buds, 
sprouts), cf. Charles Kingsley, Sainfs Tragedy, 

" Beneath whose fragrant dews all tender thoughts 
Might bud and burgeon." 

CXVI. i. The crescent prime. The growing springtime. \/ 

3. And that dear voice. The first ed. has "The dear, dear voice that 
I have known ; " and in the next line " Will " for Still. 

CXVI I. i. O days and hours, etc. Separation will make reunion 
only the sweeter. 

3. For every grain of sand that runs, etc. For every moment marked 
by the hour-glass, sun-dial, or clock, or by the course of the sun through 
the heavens. 

CXVI 1 1. i. Contemplate all the work of Time, etc. "Nature, when 
he last consulted her, in his dark mood (lv., Ivi.), suggested only 
thoughts of despair ; now, in his brighter mood, he can draw from her 
suggestions of hope. Then he had only regarded the dead forms of 
Nature ; now, he contemplates the whole of her living process, and finds 
that she is no feeble thing, but a ' giant laboring in his youth.' Human 
love and truth are part of that living process, and have no resemblance 
to the ' earth and lime ' of the fossil skeletons of extinct animals. The 
bearers of this love and truth, though they have left their dust behind 
them, and become to us invisible, we may trust, 

" ' Are breathers of an ampler day 
For ever nobler ends.' 

The process of Nature is an endless development from lower to higher ; 
and this process accomplishes itself, not only in the race as a whole, but 
in the individual, if he will only take it up and realize it in himself." 

3. In tracts of fluent heat began, etc. One of the poet's many apt 
allusions to the nebular hypothesis of La Place. See on Ixxxix. iz, 
above ; and cf. The Princess, ii. : 

" This world was once a fluid haze of light, 
Till toward the centre set the starry tides, 
And eddied into suns, that wheeling cast 
The planets," etc. 

5. Or, crown\i with attributes of woe. The first ed. has " And " for Or. 

6. But iron dug from central gloom, etc. The figure, taken from the 
smelting and forging of iron, is forcibly wrought out. 

CXIX. i. Doors, where my heart was used to beat, etc. Referring to 
another visit to the "long unlovely" Wimpole Street. See on vii. i, 
above. " No longer in confused despair, but in peaceful hope, the 
poet comes, thinking on the departed friend with blessings ; and all 
surroundings of weather and scenery answer to the calm within " 

CXX. i. Like Paul with beasts, I fought with Death. See I Cor- 
xv. 32. 


3. Let him, the wiser man, etc. Gatty remarks that " this is spoken 
ironically, and is a strong protest against materialism ; " but, as the poet 
adds, " not against evolution." The first ed. does not italicize born. 

CXXI. i. Sad Hesper, o'er the buried sun, etc. The evening-star, as 
Phosphor is the morning-star, " double name for what is one " the 
same planet, Venus. Cf. Ixxxix. 12, above. Davidson quotes Shelley's 
rendering of Plato's elegiacs (Epigr. 15): 

" Thou wert the morning star among the living, 

Ere thy fair light had fled : 
Now, having died, thou art as Hesperus, giving 
New splendor to the dead.' ; 

5. Thou, like my present and my past, etc. Gatty took this to be a 
reference to Arthur ; but Tennyson says, " No the writer is rather 
referring to himself." 

CXXI I. i. O wast thou with me, dearest, then, etc. Tennyson said 
to Mr. Knowles : " If anybody thinks I ever called him ' dearest ' in his 
Me they are much mistaken, for I never even called him ' dear.' " The 
doom in the next line is that " of grief." 

And yearned to burst the folded gloom. The first ed. has " strove " for 

CXXIII. i. There rolls the deep where grew the tree, etc. Referring 
to the changes in the limits of the ocean, and the upheaval of hills and 
mountains, in the past history of our planet. Compare Shakespeare's 
allusion to comparatively recent changes of the sea-line (as on the east 
coast of England) in Sonnet Ixiv. : 

" When I have seen the hungry ocean gain 
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore, 
And the firm soil win of the watery main, 
Increasing store with loss and loss with store," etc. 

CXXIV. i. That which we dare invoke to bless, etc. "It is not by 
any effort of the understanding that we can apprehend God the 
* Power which makes for Righteousness,' for Love, for reparation of all 
wrong and anguish, for fruition of all endeavor. Not the grandest, not 
the most cunning-devised thing in all nature can prove Him, but only 
the perennial need of the universal human heart. And he who cries to 
Him, as a child to a father, out of the depths of this unutterable, inerad- 
icable need of Him, shall feel although he may not see His hands 
stretched out towards him " (Chapman). 

6. And what I am beheld again, etc. The first ed. has : "Andwhat- 
I-seem beheld again ; ' and, in the next line, " What-is, and no-man- 

CXX V. 3. And if the song were full of care, etc. " In his deepest 
self the poet has never lost hope ; he has merely used the song to guide 
thought and feeling to a hopeful end " (Genung). 

CXX VI. i. Love is and was my lord and king. Davidson remarks : 
" Dante, speaking of his first meeting with Beatrice, says : ' From that 
time on I say that Love was Lord of my soul, which was thus early 
wedded to him, and he began to assume such assurance and such lord- 
ship over me, through the power which my imagination gave him, that 

NOTES. 203 

I was obliged to do all his pleasure completely ' (New Life, chap. i.). 
In many other places of this book Dante speaks of Love as his Lord. 
Compare Purgatory, xxiv. 52 fol. : 

" ' I am one who, when 
Love breathes, record, and in whatever mood 
He dictates in my heart, I signify.' " 

3. Who moves aboiit, etc. The first ed. reads : 

" That moves about from place to place, 

And whispers to the vast of space 
Among the worlds, that all is well." 

CXXVII. 2. The red fool-fury of the Seine, etc. This has been sup- 
Dosed to refer to the Revolution of 1848, but the poet informed Gatty 
that it was " probably written long before '48." 

3. But ill for him that wears a crown. The first ed. has " But woe 
to him ; " and, in the next stanza, " the vast /Eon." 

4. The brute earth lightens to the sky, Cf. Milton, Comus, 797 : " And 
the brute earth would lend her nerves ; " doubtless suggested by the 
" bruta tellus " of Horace (Od. i. 34. 9). 

CXXVIII. i. The love that rose on stronger -wings, etc. " In conquer- 
ing Death, Love has taken away the prestige of the Understanding, 
which proclaims Death as the Lord of all things, and has handed over 
the victory to its weaker brother, 'the lesser faith.' 1 And victory 
in one point is victory in all. Faith, thus enthroned, is able to see one 
consistent purpose in the universe. The epochs of history are not 
merely so many aimless processions round the same weary race-course, 
so many variations of an old theme compounded of strife, delusion, 
schism, mummery, revolution, pedantry, and sentimentality. If they 
were, they would deserve only scorn. But, says the faith-enlightened 

; ' ' I see in part 

That all, as in some piece of art, 
Is toil cooperant to an end. ' 

"This, then, if we may so speak, is the philosophical theory of In 
Memoriam. That higher insight which we call faith, and upon which 
we depend for the most vital truths, is feeble when dissociated from 
love. Only through love, strong enough to burn away the last shred of 
passion, and, becoming purely spiritual, to lay hold upon the eternal in 
its object, can the power of the death-threatening understanding be sub- 
dued, and man become convinced that in the universe ' all is well ' for- 
ever, that his deepest and noblest aspirations will find satisfaction in 
eternity. It is through love that man rises to faith, and through faith 
that he rises to God, ' from whom is every good and perfect gift.' . . . 
It follows that the greatest loss which can befall a human being is the 
loss of love " (Davidson). 

1 " But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three ; and the greatest of these is love." 
~iCor, xiii. 13. 

i,V" ' 

2O4 ^ A T OTES. 

,/ 2. And throned races may degrade. May degenerate. The intransi- 
tive use of degrade is comparatively rare. 

Yet, O ye mysteries of good, etc. The first ed. has " ministers of 

5. To make old bareness picturesque. The first ed. has " baseness " 
for bareness, perhaps a misprint. 

CXXIX. i. Dear friend, far off, my lost desire, etc. "A more 
touching and tender address to the dead was never uttered than this 
poem expresses ; a more pure and ennobling affection was never de- 
scribed. Sorrow is lost in the more exalted sentiment of their certain 
reunion, and in the strength derived from a consciousness of the worthi- 
ness of their past friendship " (Gatty). 

CXXX. i. Thy voice is on the rolling air, etc. Arthur has become, 

as it were, a part of the universe itself ; but, though the poet's love for 

him has become " a wider and a more impersonal thing," it is not 

^ therefore less. Indeed, now that his friend has become " mixed with 

God and Nature," he loves him only the more. 

Cf. Shelley, Adonais : /^ 

" He is made one with Nature ; there is heard , 

^ His voice in all her music ... fc_ 

\ ^ He is a presence to be felt and known (f ) 

_, ^ In darkness and in light, from herb and stone vD 

Spreading itself where'er that Power may move 
Which has withdrawn his being to its own." 

CXXXI. I. O living will that shall endure, etc. " Free will in man," 
as the poet explained to Gatty. Davidson interprets it similarly, as 
"the God within, that heaven-descended 'living will,' which is the 
essence of human personality, and which will endure when the phenom- 
enal world of sense shall be rolled up like a scroll." Cf. the poem 
entitled Will. 

2. Out of dust. The first ed. has " out the dust." 

THE EPILOGUE, i. O true and tried, etc. Cf. Ixxxv. 2 : " O true in 
*r word, and tried in deed," etc. 

This epithalamium celebrates the marriage of the poet's younger 
sister, Cecilia, to Edmund Law Lushington, October 10, 1842. 

" The poem that began with death, over which in its long course it 
has found love triumphant, now ends with marriage, that highest earthly 
illustration of crowned and completed love " (Genung). 

Gatty thought that this marriage song " scarcely harmonizes with the 
lofty solemnity " of In Memoriam ; but Tennyson replied that the 
J\ poem " was meant to be a kind of Divina Commedia, ending cheer- 
f fully." 

2. Since first he told me that he loved, etc. Referring to Arthur's 
betrothal to Emily Tennyson. 

9. He too foretold the perfect rose. Also referring to Arthur. 

12. For I that danced her on my knee, etc. As Cecilia was born -Oc- 
tober 10, 1817, she was eight years younger than the poet. 

13. Her feet, my darling, on the dead. Referring to the graves be- 
neath the chancel floor, as the next line does to the memorial tablets on 
the walls. See on x. 4, above. 

NOTES. 205 

14. Her sweet ' I iviir has made you one. The first ed. has "ye" for 

15. Now sign your names. In the parish register, according to 
English usage. 

As Genung remarks, this closing poem " affords occasion to bring in 
review before us the leading features and influences of In Memoriatn" 
namely : 

"i. Love, which survives regret and the grave, has recovered her 
peace in this world, has grown greater and holier, and yet by no means 
less loyal to the dead ; and now, no more disturbed by the past, she 
devotes herself to the innocent joys of the present. 

" 2. Remembrance of the dead is cherished, not sacrificed ; the dead 
is thought of as living, and perhaps present on this occasion, shedding 
unseen blessings on this coronation of love. 

" 3. The living present is suggested by the marriage-bells and festivi- 
ties ; a present in which love finds its purest expression. 

" 4. The greater future is suggested in the thought of the new life 
that may rise from this union, a new-born soul, who will look on a race 
more advanced than this, and contribute to its greatness, and so be a 
link between us and the perfect future. 

, "5. Finally, a view of the far future perfected. Its character: the 
view of knowledge eye to eye, the complete subjugation in our nature 
of all that is brutish, the flower and fruit of which the present con- 
tains the seed. Its type : the life of Arthur, who appeared in advance 
of his time. Its culmination : life in God." 

George Brimley (Essays, 3d ed., London, 1882), in an eloquent pro- 
test against the notion of certain critics that In Memoriam is " a morbid 
mistake, the unhealthy product of a man of genius in an unhealthy 
mood, degrading his genius by employing it in the delineation of a sor- 
row that is unmanly and exaggerated," says : 

" Compare the tone in which Shakespeare addresses the male friend 
to whom the greater number of the Sonnets apply, with Tennyson's 
tone in speaking of Arthur Hallam. If the one is supposed to do no 
discredit to the soundest-hearted as well as the largest-minded man of 
modern Europe, why is the other to be called morbid and exaggerated ? 
The critics need not take so much trouble to let the world know that 
they are not Shakespeares and Tennysons in heart any more than in 
intellect. . . . 

" Mr. Tennyson, finding himself in a world where sorrow alternates 
with joy, and in a nation whose humor even has been supposed to 
have a serious and saturnine cast, having heard, too, we may pre-1 
sume, of a text in a certain Book which says, ' Blessed are they that I 
mourn, for they shall be comforted, ' and having himself lost a friend 
who was as the light of his eyes and the joy of his heart, has not 
thought it an unworthy employment of his poetic gifts to bestow them 
in trecting a monument to his friend, upon which he has carved bas- 
reliefs of exceeding grace and beauty, and has worked delicate flowers 
into the cornices, and adorned the capitals of the columns with emblem- 
atic devices ; and upon the summit he has set the statue of his friend, 
and about the base run the sweetest words of love with the mournfullest 


accents of grief, the darkest doubts with the sublimest hopes. The 
groans of despair are there, with the triumphant songs of faith, and 
over all, in letters of gold, surmounting the mingled posies, which tell 
of all the moods of the human mind through its years of mourning, is 
the scroll on which one reads from afar : 

*3 am rtje insurrection ana ttje Ilife* 31Blemu at* 
tte neat) djat ate in tip 


When this book was first published I sent a copy of it to Mr. Glad- 
stone. In the note acknowledging it he expressed a doubt concerning 
the authenticity of the passage ascribed to him on p. 171, and asked 
where I had found it. I referred him to the English book from which I 
had copied it, and begged that he would inform me if it had been 
wrongly attributed to him, in order that I might make the necessary 
correction in my next edition. He did not write again, and two years 
later, when the Memoir of Lord Tennyson by his son appeared, I found 
the passage quoted there (vol. i. p. 299) as from a review of In Memoriam 
" by Mr. Gladstone " which the poet " thought one of the ablest." The 
quotation is credited to " Gladstone's Gleanings of Past Years, vol. ii. 
pp. 136-137." There I find it credited to the Quarterly Review, Oct. 1859. 
A foot-note states that the sentence beginning " The writer of this paper," 
and ending with the quotation " I marked him," etc. (from De Vere's 
Mary Tudor) "has now [1878] been added." The passage differs from 
the reading as I give it only in having " the rapid, full, and rich develop- 
ment " (a change that must have been made by the author from whom 
I quoted it) instead of " the rapid growth and rich development," and 
*' summits " instead of " summit." It is curious that Mr. Gladstone, after 
reprinting it and adding to it in 1878, should have forgotten that he 
wrote it. 


Ionian hills, 182. 
Ionian music, 194. 

fluttering urn, 194. 
forgetful shore, 182. 

poor flower of poesy, 176. 
proper (=own), 180. 

Anakim, thews of, 197. 

prophet blazoned on the 

angel of the night, 183. 

Goethe (allusion to), 175. 

panes, 192. 

April (figurative), 183. 

grand old name of gentle- 

assumptions, 186. 

man, 199. 

quicks, 192, 201. 

Ave, ave, ave ! 186. 

guardian angel, 184. 

bar of Michael Angelo, the, 

haze of grief, 179. 

rathe, 199. 
red fool-fury of the Seine, 


Hesper, 202. 


blanched with darkness, 
1 86. 

High Beech, 197. 
high-built organs, 192. 

refraction (figurative), 193. 
rhymes, identical, 176. 

blasts that blow the poplar 

hoodman-blind, 190. 

rhymes, imperfect, 193. 

white, 189. 

ruffle thy mirrored mast, 176. 

blind hysterics of the Celt, 

keys of all the creeds, 179. 


kneeling hamlet, 176. 

sea-blue bird of March, 193. 

blowing season, 182. 

secular to-be, 183. 

brakes (=bushes), 198. 

laburnums, 191. 

Seine, red fool-fury of the, 

brute earth, 203. 

La Place, 193, 201. 


budded quicks, 192. 

latest moon, 179. 

Shadow feared of man, 179. 

burden (for burthen), 180. 

lessening towers, 177. 

Shakespeare (allusion to), 

lesser lords of doom, 199. 


Celt, blind hysterics of the, 

Lesser Wain, 196. 

slime (primeval), 186. 


Lethean springs, 184. 

spiritual prime, 183. 

Christmases, the three, 180, 

limes, long walk of, 192. 

still (=always), 183. 

190, 196, 197. 

lops the glades, 196. 

sung (=sang), 181. 

Clevedon Church, 169, 178, 

lying lip (of Sorrow), 175. 


tangle (sea- weed), 177. 

compelled (=impelled), 178. 
crescent prime, 201. 
crimson-circled star, 192. 
crimson fringes (of daisy), 

maze of quick, 201. 
Michael Angelo, bar of, 192. 
mimic picture's breathing 
x grace, 190. t " 

Urania, 182. 
Use and Wont (personified), 


mortal ark, 177. 

Ursa Minor, 196. 

mother town, 196. 

Death's twin-brother, 188. 
degrade (intransitive). 204. 

nebular hypothesis, 193,201. 

Waltham Abbey, 197. 
Wimpole Street, 168, 17^ 

doorways of the head, 183. 


dropping-wells of fire, 191, 
dust of praise, 190. 

Phosphor, 176, 202. 
plane of molten glass, 178 

yew-tree, 175, 190. 

PR Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson, 

5562 Baron 

A3R6 In memoriam.